On Wednesday, April 23, the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival returns for its third year. The festival, which runs from Wednesday until Saturday, April 26, packs more than 100 comedians across 10 venues across Austin.
You’ve likely heard of the top-notch headliners performing at the Paramount, but Moontower also provides a chance to discover new talent you may not be aware of. To help guide your exploration, we’ve paired up each headliner with an unsung stand-up performer or showcase to help you navigate the waters of Austin’s funniest festival.
If you like quirky Demetri Martin, also consider Water Park and Girls, Girls, Girls
Demetri Martin is one of those comedic delights whose act can be difficult to explain. Martin's performance is a mix of stand-up, musical acts and graphs drawn on large notepads.
To enjoy even more comedy with a musical twist, check out a dual performance of Water Park and Girls, Girls, Girls on Thursday, April 24. Water Park is an improv group that creates both incredibly beautiful and hilarious music right on the spot, while Girls, Girls, Girls features some lovely ladies improvising musical theater based on an audience suggestion.
If you like breakout star Hannibal Buress, also consider Michael Che
After a lengthy stand-up career and celebrated writing gigs for 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, Hannibal Buress is finally getting the attention he deserves. As Buress fans already know, it's just a matter of time until he finally gets his own show.
Another under-the-radar SNL writing alum, Michael Che doesn’t disappoint. Che tackles tough topics like poverty, politics and race while providing smart commentary. His laid-back delivery keeps audiences laughing — and thinking — about these social issues.
If you like political firebrand Dennis Miller, also consider W. Kamau Bell
Noted SNL alum Dennis Miller has had a long career in the comedy biz, but he’s most well known for speaking out on politics, drawing both support and criticism for his conservative, right-wing viewpoints.
If you want to cover the full political spectrum, be sure to see W. Kamau Bell. The former host of Totally Biased on FX never pulls punches while expressing his progressive views. Political junkies looking to spark some conversation owe it to themselves to check out both acts.
If you like wonderfully weird Maria Bamford, also consider Bobcat Goldthwait
Back for her second year as a Moontower headliner, Bamford is a breath of fresh air. This comedic stalwart is delightfully weird, with a soft-spoken delivery that’s a mix of surreal and awkward (and always funny).
Bobcat Goldthwait is kind of like Bamford, but louder. Even if you don't know his name, you’ll recognized his iconic voice, which adds an extra layer of weird to his routine (and only makes it funnier in the end).
If you like the intelligent Mike Birbiglia, also consider TNM Talks
Mike Birbiglia is known for his critically acclaimed film Sleepwalk with Me, which addresses his struggles with a sleeping disorder. But he’s also a regular contributor on Ira Glass’ radio program, This American Life.
TNM Talks is like a live version of This American Life, except instead of experts providing intellectual discourse on subjects they are well-versed in, you have guest comedians forced to give presentations on things they know nothing about. The results are uproarious, "educational" lectures.
If you like sketch icons Kids in the Hall, also consider STAG Comedy
The Kids in the Hall were Canada’s answer to Monty Python, with surreal sketch comedy that created unforgettable and hilarious moments that are still quoted even years after the show ended. They also gave us the wonderful gift that is Buddy Cole.
STAG is Austin's premier sketch comedy group. This ragtag collection features some of the city’s finest comedians creating memorable sketches and characters while packing plenty of punchlines.
If you like new media pioneer Marc Maron, also consider Tweet Masters
Marc Maron represents the new wave of comedians connecting with audiences outside of smoky comedy clubs. His podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, created a legion of followers and launched his television career with IFC’s Maron.
Today’s comedians are proving the power of social media. Tweet Masters features a rotating lineup of Twitter-famous comedians like Joe Mande, Ari Shaffir, Arden Myrin and Austin’s own Brian Gaar, all of whom will get you laughing in 140 characters or less.
If you like music idol Fred Armisen/Ian Rubbish, also consider Puddles Pity Party
Fred Armisen, the beloved SNL performer who cemented his legacy thanks to his work on the incredible Portlandia, will share the stage with famed punk rocker, Ian Rubbish.
Another musical act taking the stage at Moontower is Puddles, who invites you to attend Puddles’ Pity Party. This giant, sad clown with the voice of an angel will be performing his act live. If you haven't watched his cover of Lorde's Royals (which has racked up almost 7 million YouTube views), do yourself a favor and take look before the weekend.