If it’s been awhile since you LOL’d, the rib-tickling return of Austin’s favorite laugh fest may be just the dose of comedic medicine you need.
The first round of comedy talent has just been released for the inaugural Moontower Just for Laughs Austin, which will turn downtown into a veritable funny farm April 13-24.
Previously known as the Moontower Comedy Festival, the now 11-year-old local laugh fest partnered with Montreal-based powerhouse Just for Laughs Group in September to launch the all-new and hilariously improved Moontower Just for Laughs Austin, growing the original four-day event into a “colossal comedy experience” over nearly two weeks that will feature a curated assemblage of giggle-inducing stand-up performances, parties, live podcasts, and broadcasts across at least 10 venues.
“Partnering with comedy titan Just for Laughs has opened doors to new and exciting opportunities,” says Lietza Brass, Moontower Just for Laughs Austin festival director. “Knowing where we are and what we have planned for future announcements leads me to believe that the 2022 Moontower JFL festival will be a cavalcade of comedy for fans and industry.”
Festival badges ($125-$1,250) are on sale now at moontowercomedyfest.com, as well as through the Paramount Theatre box office or by calling 512-474-1221.
While more performers will be announced as the festival nears and the lineup is subject to change (we are still living in a pandemic, y’all), the initial talent pool of entertainers is, as one commenter on the Moontower website puts it, “an embarrassment of comedy riches.”
Headliners set to perform at the Paramount and Stateside theaters include:
- Marc Maron, a fest favorite who boasts four hit specials, is known for his wealth of acting performances (including his role as the cantankerously lovable Sam on GLOW), and is the host of his landmark podcast, WTF with Marc Maron.
- Dan Soder of Showtime series Billions and co-host of SiriusXM’s The Bonfire, who will make his Paramount debut.
- Emmy-nominated Nicole Byer, host of Netflix show Nailed It! and Why Won’t You Date Me?, her comedy and relationship podcast, which will be staged live during the festival.
- Deon Cole of ABC show black-ish and its spinoff, Grown-ish, as well as the new feature film The Harder They Fall.
- Michelle Buteau, host of the newest season of the popular Netflix series The Circle and star of BET’s The First Wives Club, who will hit the Paramount stage for the first time.
- Nikki Glaser, who’s been seen on Netflix, Comedy Central Roasts, and hosts The Nikki Glaser Podcast.
- Mark Normand, a New York comedian featured in Netflix’s The Standups and co-host of the Tuesdays with Stories podcast.
- Not Another Dungeons and Dragons Podcast, hosted by dungeon master Brian Murphy, Emily Axford, Jake Hurwitz, and Caldwell Tanner.
- Christina P, who has had her stand-up featured on Netflix and co-hosts the hit podcast Your Mom’s House.
- Saturday Night Live favorites Chris Redd, James Austin Johnson, and sketch group Please Don’t Destroy, featuring members Ben Marshall, Martin Herlihy, and John Higgins.
- Donnell Rawlings, best known from Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show and Netflix’s The Degenerates.
- Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher, who will co-headline two shows at the Stateside, in addition to hosting their live podcast, Endless Honeymoon.
- Sasheer Zamata from ABC’s Home Economics and Hulu’s Woke.
- Rachel Feinstein and Jessica Kirson, two formidable national headliners who will team up in a rare comedy tour de force.
In addition to these Paramount and Stateside headliners, Moontower Just for Laughs Austin features a sidesplitting array of national acts performing at more intimate local venues, where festivalgoers can get up close and personal with the funny.
And this year’s fest will also feature a first-ever audition showcase of Just for Laughs’ signature New Faces series, which will give Austin comedy lovers the first chance to check out the rising stars vying for a spot to perform in the iconic New Faces showcase, which takes place every July at the Just for Laughs Montreal festival.
“We’re excited to share that Moontower Just for Laughs Austin will be growing this year,” says Bruce Hills, president of Just for Laughs. “Our programming team has been working tirelessly to curate an outstanding lineup of performers, and the names we’ve revealed today is just the beginning. We are so excited for what’s to come, and are looking forward to reuniting with all of our industry friends and comedy fans this April.”
Check out the Moontower website for the long and impressive list of fest performers, live podcasts and broadcast series, and up-to-date info.