Moontower Comedy Festival (part 2) - Austin Sessions
Considering I took Thursday and Friday off I got a slower start than I had hoped for our second day at Moontower. I met Taylor at the SFA bar and we made our way across the street to the Hideout Theatre. Just out front, we ran into an old friend and former Austin Sessions guest, Kevin Gant. Guitar in hand, he greeted us with a warm hello and we chatted a little about Twitter stuff and Jay Duplass' upcoming project. (For more background about Kevin & Jay click here) Kevin told me that he does pretty well performing on that specific corner, so I left him to do his thing and we walked over to the Hideout. This was my first time in this cool little venue and I was extremely happy to find some Austin Beerworks to kick the night off properly. I was also pretty excited when we walked in and pretty much had our pick of choice seats. It was kind of a tight fit, the seats were a little weird and slouchy, and it didn't feel like the AC was doing a lot for us but hey...that's what the beer was for.
The show kicked off with a projector screen showing some video clips from Inside Joke, Moontower's video diary, and a some festival announcements. Ralph Hardesty, who is a teacher by day and awesome funny, started his hosting duties by letting the crowd know that we were attending the gay themed Switch show. I'm still not quite sure how Switch describes a show that features 90% gay comics. Four Eyes, I get. Austin Towers, I get that too. Switch? I'm sure I'll get emails and/or tweets explaining my ignorance. (sorry)
Opening the show was the terrific Jackie Kashian, who for the record, is not gay. This is Jackie's third appearance at Moontower and she made her Conan debut last year. Her podcast, The Dork Forest, features guests sharing their favorite obsessions. She was outstanding. I highly recommend her next time she's in town. Next up was Cameron Esposito, a comic who likened herself to a Thundercat which immediately won me over. Cameron has been a guest on Late Late with Craig Ferguson and was told by Jay Leno, "You're the future." She also has a couple podcasts called Put Your Hands Together and Wham Bam Pow.
Daniel Webb is part musician, part comedian, and completely hilarious. He was encouraged to start stand-up about a year ago by the aforementioned Hardesty. His set was a non-stop, adrenalized train that didn't give you a chance to memorize any of the bits to regurgitate later. Erin Foley took the stage as about half a dozen people decided it was the perfect chance to take a restroom break. She chided them for "leaving" during her set with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Erin opened for Maria Bamford at the Paramount and was kind enough be a guest on our podcast. Speaking of podcasts, you can download and listen to Erin on the Sports Without Balls podcast.
We were lucky enough to see James Adomian two days in a row. It was interesting to see how he used small pieces of bits from the previous set we'd seen, and then transform them into different jokes. Again, he was amazing. Jen Kober closed the show out with an endearing southern accent explaining why she can relate to men when it comes to dealing with women. You can look for Kober on The Mindy Project and Anger Management and she also has a scene with Robert Deniro in the movie The Grudge Match.
After the Switch show we headed over to Speakeasy for the next Four Eyes show. I was trying to remember if we grabbed a bite to eat on the way but by now, it's all a blur. It was probably something healthy and nutritious to compliment the beer. Andy Kindler, this time hosting, took the stage to rev the crowd up for some bad ass comics.
Rory Scovel took the stage with an almost completely different set we'd seen the night before. There was a small bit of overlap with minor tweaks but this guy is so funny it didn't matter. Next up, Kurt Braunohler took the stage and within a minute started riffing about the Fleshlight that was in the gift bag that Moontower supplied to all comics. He brought the gag gift with him, took it out of his back pocket, and literally deconstructed it on stage. He then proceeded to stretch in inner (vagina wall?) soft plastic over his microphone like some sort of terrible protective sheath and did the rest of his set talking into a vulva. The crowd ate it up. (sorry) Much to the next comic's relief, and after some manhandling, Braunohler took what left of his mic cover and left the stage swinging it around.
Following the sheath incident, Beth Stelling came to the stage having to deal with what sounded like a microphone that was starting to short out. Damn you Fleshlight! She looked a little annoyed but slid into her set with her subdued, precise voice and got the crowd back on firm footing. Beth, one of Patton Oswalt's favorite up-and-coming comics, has recently been on Chris Hardwick's @Midnight, and has performed on Conan. The aptly named Pitbull of Comedy, Bobby Slayton, took the stage next. After riffing for a few minutes, he started with his actual material then quickly changed gears to crowd work. His main focus... two guys who were unlucky enough to have sat in the front row and not been smiling. The rest of his set consisted of him picking through the crowd and meticulously sniping at different audience members. It was hilariously brutal. I'm pretty sure he ran over his time but really....who's gonna argue with him?
Billy D. Washington calmly walked out and took on a demeanor that filled the vacuum of the previous comic who had just left the stage. He set was cool, methodical, and relaxed. He has some great bits about "reverse racism" that were awesome. He's been on Late Late with Craig Ferguson and Last Comic standing. Considering he's from Houston, I was a little disappointed I was just now finding out about this guy. Next up, we had the oppurtunity to see the amazing Dana Gould. I had heard he's one of the funniest comics ever from several comedians throughout the various podcasts I listen to and...it...is...true. It's all true. He has a bit about monkeys that had me almost crying. If you ever get a chance to see him, don't hesitate. You can also check out his podcast, The Dana Gould Hour.
Nick Thune, who at first glance I thought looked remarkably like Wil Wheaton, closed the show out with a smoothly paced set that involved a fantastic bit about hunting for baby penis. Yes, you read that right. Nick's been on Conan, The Late Show w/Jimmy Fallon, and has appeared on The Tonight Show eight times. He's also had roles in Knocked Up and Unaccompanied Minors. His comedy special Folk Hero is currently on Netflix and iTunes.