Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival 2016 Bring Down The House

by Alysha Kaye Mendez on April 26, 2016 in Entertainment, Theatre, Austin,
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This past rainy week in Austin served up some of the most amazing comedic performances—were you able to catch a show? If not, make sure you get a ticket (or fan badge) next year—you won’t be sorry. Four days, 10 venues and more than 90 performers—wow. Headlining this week at the Paramount Theatre was Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Anjelah Johnson, Kevin Smith, and David Cross. The big-timers sold out pretty quickly but were still a steal at about $40 per ticket on average.

I was more interested in the smaller venues—I wanted to sit as close as possible to the laugh-creators and honestly, I’ve found that less-advertised performances are usually the most amazing experiences. That definitely proved to be true. First up was Stars in Bars at Antone’s Nightclub on East 6th Street. Local comedian Matt Bearden hosted, and the night started off strong with Martha Kelly, also Austin-based, who’s known for the FX show “Baskets.” Her dark, hilarious anecdotes about her beloved cats passing away were perfect.

The two are a laugh riot, and will keep you talking about their set for weeks.
The two are a laugh riot, and will keep you talking about their set for weeks.

Jon Rudnitsky, who’s new to the SNL cast, added not one, but two “dance routines” to his stand-up. If you love Chipotle, you’ll love his burrito-maker moves. Another SNL cast member, Colin Jost, wasn’t on the original line-up, but decided to make a guest appearance I guess! His and Jon’s eight to 10 minutes were way too short for me, but I’m not 100% sure if that’s because they were terrific (they were) or if they were both drop dead gorgeous. Something to consider. Brendan Walsh, Greg Liedtke, and Dana Gould added their own quirky witticisms—the entire night was honestly a blur of sidesplitting laughter, including the closing act, The Sklar Brothers (Wild Hogs, Entourage—trust me, you know these hysterical twins).

But the person who absolutely killed it? Arden Mylin, known for her many panelist contributions to the Chelsea Lately roundtable. She slayed. I especially loved when she called out the obnoxious couple in front of me and lamented about wearing Spanx. Next was the Goddamn Comedy Jam at The Parish on Dirty 6th, a place most tend to avoid, but I’m glad I didn’t that night! Josh Adam Meyers hosted, made his entrance by grabbing a man in the front row and kissing him, rocking out with the two “roadies” whose job all night was just to jam out and get the crowd pumped, and forcing another man in the third row to admit what race he hated the most. Quite the first three minutes. Goddamn Comedy Jam is all about mixing comedy with music—which is genius, especially since this is the Live Music Capital of the World. Each comedian has to perform their stand-up and then perform a song of their choosing! Such an amazing idea. Joe DeRosa sang his heart out to a Queen song and Janeane Garofalo went with The Monkees—both were more than funny  beforehand as well of course.

Brad Williams did an amazing job, and kept the crowd entertained. Photos by Alysha Kaye Mendez
Brad Williams did an amazing job, and kept the crowd entertained. Photos by Alysha Kaye Mendez

Matteo Lane stole the show for me—his jests about being gay, Italian-Mexican, and single in New York were hilarious. Plus, he sang Whitney…in the original key! Brad Williams was the headliner for a reason—he absolutely won me over. You may know him from Comedy Central, but now I’ll forever know him as astounding an entire venue with his sex advice and Kid Rock performance. After Williams’ killer version of “Bawitdaba,” Meyers made all the comics come back on stage to do a final performance together—“Hey Jude.”

As you can see by my overflowing enthusiasm about this past week, Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is something you simply can’t miss next year. I’ll be smiling about these shows for weeks to come.