Joe Hafkey Starts it Up

Audio By Valerie, Words By Richard


Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Joe Hafkey originally found his hometown lacking when trying to satisfy his comedic desires.

Hafkey grew up with sketch shows like Mad TV & SNL, and was a fan of heavy hitters like George Carlin and Jerry Seinfeld. At first he wasn’t sure that comedy was going to be a focal point in his life.  But when a job at the local (and really only) venue in Richmond eventually led to a guest spot on its established show, the hook was set. Not satisfied with the opportunities in the local scene, Hafkey did what many comics have done – created his own. Running 2 years, the show he created provided a more open and inclusive space for comedy in Richmond.

Continue reading “Joe Hafkey Starts it Up”

Lara’s Moontower Wrap-Up

I love it when a plan comes together. This year that is exactly what happened at Moontower Comedy & Oddity Fest. We released our picks for the festival the week before and I told you it wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad I did it. I stuck to my plan, with a few extra additions, and it really made for an awesome comedy experience.

Volunteers like Mike and Sharon keep Moontower running smooth.
Volunteers like Mike and Sharon keep Moontower running smooth.

So my first add-on was Ari & Kurt Do 4-20 on opening day at Cap City Comedy Club. It was an amazing lineup of local favorites, hosted by Ari Shaffir and Kurt Metzger. The show was such a great way to kick off Moontower and, despite the date, it was a very high-energy show (pun intended). Immediately following the show, ATX Uncensored(ish) did a taping of their show, with guests, Ari and Kurt. It was a great way to close day one.

Dan Soder

I stuck to the plan and headed down to The Parish to watch This Is Not Happening and I’m so glad I did. Hosted by Ari Shaffir, stories from Dan Soder, Debra DiGiovanni, Big Jay Oakerson, Brad Williams and a surprise addition, Jesse Joyce. I have to say that I am forever a hardcore Brad Williams fan after hearing his “best day” story.

I remained at The Parish for Stashbox and had an incredible time. Because of some of the headlining shows competing with the time slot, the crowd thinned out some, but you couldn’t tell Andy Kindler that. He put on such a kinetic show, my face hurt from laughing.


I headed downtown early to catch a recording of the SiriusXM show The Bonfire, hosted by Dan Soder and Big Jay Oakerson. Donned in western wear for the occasion, they put on quite a show. Guests Joe DeRosa, Andy Kindler, and Ari Shaffir stopped by to join the campers. DeRosa and Kindler had some much fun trash-talking each other. It was the perfect way to lead me into my evening with David Cross: Making America Great Again.

Cross was incredible and his commentary on the election and our polarized nation was painfully honest and hilarious. This day truly spoiled me, as I ended it with the dynamic Ron Funches at Cap City. Funches has an infectious smile and an adorably confident persona that makes you know why he’s become such a force in the comedy/television world.

Janeane Garofalo

I got things going with the Ping Pong Slapdown with commentary by the Sklar Brothers. Badge holders enjoy this tournament exclusively every year. Anyone could sign up to compete and everyone was treated to free Amy’s Ice Cream, burgers from Phil’s Icehouse, and beer from Goose Island. Be sure to check out Comedy Wham on Instagram to see pictures from the tournament.

That evening I returned to my schedule to see Stars In Bars and it was incredible. JR Brow was wonderful, as always. Erin Foley, Phoebe Robinson, Arden Myrin, and Janeane Garofalo reminded me how much I love strong female comedians and how they inspire me. Then my world was captivated by the irreverent and fabulous Jimmy Carr. He brought the house down with his quick-witted rapid fire style…a perfect way to close this showcase.

Jesse Joyce

Finally, my Moontower ended with Piranha, hosted by Matt Bearden. This time panelists included Arden Myrin, Jesse Joyce, and Mike MacRae. It was just as I had reported before, but cranked up a notch! Audience interaction started quickly, judges roused each other fiercely, and performing comedians were far from timid with the panel. It was a great way to close the festival.

Go to This Festival

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Moontower Comedy & Oddity Fest was one of the most well-planned festivals Austin has to offer. Almost every venue is a quick walk from the next, the volunteers are incredibly helpful and personable, and the comedians they book are as friendly and kind to fans as they are talented. I cannot wait for next year!

Valerie’s Recap of Moontower Comedy Festival

sklar-brothersWhoa. That’s pretty much how I feel about my inaugural experience with Moontower, which celebrated its 5th year. Maybe the organizers felt they had to work extra hard to make it special for the 5th anniversary, but a few little birdies told me that this 5th year is just a sign that every year, Moontower gets better and better. Confirming what I already knew after watching a couple of shows this weekend: I absolutely want to come back for 2017.


I deviated from my original recommendations and it allowed me to have one of the most memorable comedy experiences of my life. My only regret as a big fan of The Bone Zone, I wasn’t able to get to the live taping. What I saw on Thursday, when I switched up my game plan, more than made up for that regret.

I saw a show called Stars in Bars which followed a traditional stand up format with comics from across the country. I saw stand up sets by Brendon Walsh and Randy Liedtke, so I felt a little less bummed about missing their podcast taping the following day. There were great acts on this lineup: Martha Kelly, The Sklar Brothers, Dana Gould, Greg Behrendt, Arden Myrin, and Jon Rudnitsky of SNL fame. Rudnitsky wowed me with his character work and high-energy set. A couple of bonuses to that show were that Colin Jost, also of SNL fame, dropped in to do a set while Matt Bearden hosted the entire showcase of excellent comics.

And now, the piece de resistance, the Goddamn Comedy Jam, hosted by the amazing Josh Adam Meyers. Meyers had a background in music before setting his sights on comedy. The Goddamn Comedy Jam is a blend of musical performance (by legit backing band, Elemenope) and stand up. The idea is Meyers kicks off with a musical performance which is engaging and involves the audience (I felt sorry for the guy standing next to me who got pulled in to do awkward things with Meyers’ mic, but he was a team player).

Meyers then introduces comics who do their traditional sets followed by singing a song for the audience. The comics also engage the audience and if you’re not on your feet, then you may just be dead. The night’s comics were Joe DeRosa, The Sklar Brothers, Adam Ray and Big Jay Oakerson. They each performed stellar sets and selected memorable musical pieces. From Huey Lewis to David Bowie to 4 Non Blondes to Pantera, the night was rocked. Ray’s performance of 4 Non Blondes’ What’s Up was so rousing, I heard it discussed well into Saturday. Since Prince died earlier that day, Meyers lead the entire lineup in a rousing rendition of Purple Rain that nearly had me in tears.


The Ron Funches late show on Friday night was my escape from downtown and I got to see Daniel Webb and Rob Khosravi sklar-brotherssupport Funches that night. Funches is as adorable as he is wickedly funny. He pulls in the audience with his sweet demeanor. Don’t let that fool you, he made some wicked social commentary and let us know that he is no pushover. He was extremely gracious after the show and took pictures and chatted with those interested in seeing that bright smile up close.


Saturday brought a last-minute addition of the daytime Ping Pong Slapdown moderated by The Sklar Brothers. If you’re keeping count, that’s the 3rd time I got to see them over the course of the festival and each time I was more and more enamored of their style of comedy. The crew of Comedy Wham were present as was my 9 year old son. Not only was it a blast listening to The Sklar Brothers give a play-by-play commentary on the ping pong table action (which pitted a comic with an audience member), but they interviewed the losers of each round, and most amusingly, when they noticed my 9 year old in the front row, they incorporated him into their commentary, referring to “the 9 year old in the audience” to remind everyone any time the comedy turned blue (don’t worry, it stayed blue in all the right places). My son was beaming at the attention.

Leslie Jones

Saturday night, I stuck to my selections and enjoyed Leslie Loves Colin, featuring SNL cast members, Leslie Jones, Colin Jost and opener Jon Rudnitsky. Rudnitsky did a different set than the one he performed on Thursday, so I got to see his Dirty Dancing Live performance which you can catch on the February 6 episode of Saturday Night Live. Colin’s performance was a treat, but the firecracker Leslie Jones came out with a bang and never let up the heat.

Her energy reminded me of Kevin Hart, but Leslie is unique and even when she’s yelling at you for wearing a denim shirt on a date with a hot girl (yes, she did that), you can’t help but love her. The final portion of the performance was Leslie and Colin together answering “audience” questions (some were plants by each other) where you got to witness in action the exuberance of Leslie’s staged attraction to the awkwardly timid Colin. I loved seeing an all-SNL showcase since SNL is so near and dear to my heart.

Matt Bearden

The final show for Moontower  brought together the Comedy Wham crew for Matt Bearden’s Piranha, which you can read about in Lara’s article from last month. The comedic “Shark Tank rip-off” was staged in a small room in the back of the Townsend club that gave an intimate feel to the experience.

Jesse Joyce, Arden Myrin and Mike Macrae assisted Bearden with the judging while comics Martin Urbano, Raul Sanchez, Avery Moore, Abby Rosenquist and Devon Walker performed sets in hopes of getting their jokes bought by the judges. While the other comics successfully sold individual jokes, Walker achieved a rare feat in getting paid to NOT sell his jokes and focus on making minor tweaks for added comedic effect. Walker was described by Bearden as a shining new star on the Austin comedy scene. His adoration of the comics on the show was evident throughout the evening. Bearden takes his role as ambassador of the Austin comedy scene seriously and it was clear to me why so many of the young comics in Austin look up to him.

Watching a home-grown show was a perfect nightcap to the Moontower experience which allowed me the opportunity to see great comics from across the country. It’s always nice knowing that the Austin comedy scene rewards you handsomely with its talent even in the midst of a national showcase event.


Kelsey Caine Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

(Source: Moontower)
(Source: Moontower)

Kelsey Caine is a comedy runaway. Originally from Houston, Caine left her joke cracking family to pursue higher education in Austin, which is where she got going in comedy and finally landed in New York.  This is another interview that becomes a wild ride as Valerie Lopez barely has time to buckle up before Caine mashes the gas and throws it into 5th gear.

In part one of her interview, Kelsey Caine speaks to Valerie about watching Seinfeld at six years old, growing up in what can only be described as a ball-busting family and her love of Pat Dean and Martin Urbano.

Kelsey Caine Pt. 1: The Past

In part two of her interview, Caine moves to  NYC, charms the comedy scene there and ends up running a couple of open mics and developing a pro wrestling themed comedy show.

Kelsey Caine Pt. 2: Current

Kelsey Caine is in town this week for Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival and is featured on the Austin Towers showcase at 8:30pm from the Velv on the 21st. This show happens to be one of my picks for the festival.


Kelsey Caine

Valerie Lopez

Comedy Wham

Lashonda Lester: The Kitten From Murder Mitten

(Source: Austin Jernigan)
(Source: Austin Jernigan)

Lashonda Lester is a sweetheart to talk to. She’s always approachable and easy to chat with. But beneath that friendly exterior is an iron resolve forged in the fires of The Motor City.

12 Years ago Lester left her native Detroit, MI. for Austin. Several years later, she seriously got into the comedy game and has been going full throttle ever since. In part one of their interview, Lashonda Lester tells Valerie Lopez about sneaking around and listening to “dirty” comic albums, and her very first open mic in Detroit. Go ahead and click the link below.

Lashonda Lester Pt. 1: The Past

In part two, Lester talks with Valerie about medical setbacks, and getting her momentum going again. She also talks about giving back to the comedy community by hosting comedy seminars. In fact, I took my son, Tommy to one last year. We had a great time and found the seminar insightful. Tommy still carries a little notebook with him where he jots down joke ideas. He won’t let me see it though. Anyway you know what to do, right?

Lashonda Lester Pt. 2: Current

Recently Lashonda Lester has started ramping up her performance itinerary. In the immediate future she’ll be performing with Matt Sadler as they open for Ron Funches at Moontower Comedy Festival, and performing in other showcases. She’s also competing in the Funniest Person in Austin Contest this year; and in May, she’s putting on her popular show, Weird True Hollywood Tales at the Salvage Vanguard Theater.


Lashonda Lestser

Valerie Lopez


Dave’s Guide to Moontower Comedy Fest

By David Thomas

My Comedy Wham cohorts mentioned picking shows and performers for Moontower Comedy Festival is like picking your favorite kid. I’d love to get in on the analogy but due to the brouhaha, I got to get to brass tacks.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Brian Gaar (Source: Moontower)
Brian Gaar (Source: Moontower)

I am already torn. Missing Austin Towers at the Velv Comedy Lounge would be a travesty. The show starts at 8:3opm and features an amazing cross section of Austin comedy. Andrew Dismukes, Pat Dean, and Derek Phelps alone make the show worth seeing. Then they throw in Brian Gaar, Zac Brooks and Kath Barbadoro and that still isn’t the entire lineup. This is a show I normally wouldn’t think twice about.

This year though, I do have to think twice about Austin Towers because Maria Bamford is headlining the Paramount Theatre at 9:30pm with Erin Foley and Jackie Kashian. If you’re an Elite or Ace badge holder, or if you’ve purchased a ticket to the show, then beating feet from the Velv to the Paramount may not be a big deal. If you’re holder of a Fan Badge, you may be forced to choose between the shows, since Fan Badge holders get in after ticket and upper level badge holders – making it a first come, first serve scenario.

I’ve recently immersed myself in Bamford’s comedy and I would very much like to see her live. Besides, she’s also performing with Jackie Kashian and Erin Foley. I’ve been able to see Kashian and Foley on past Moontower Comedy shows and I dug their sets.  Austin Towers or Maria Bamford… maybe I should rethink my intro paragraph.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Jessica Williams (Source: Moontower)
Jessica Williams (Source: Moontower)

SheBang is a female themed showcase taking place at *pm from 800 Congress. Greg Behrendt (not a female) hosts a fun crew of female comics including Erin Foley, Jackie Kashian, and of course, Austin’s very own, Maggie Maye. If you recall my dilemma from my Thursday recommendations, you’ll note that two out of the three performers from Maria Bamford’s show are on SheBang. So if you’re a fan badge holder and chose Austin Towers, this may be a bit of a consolation for you/us (I  won’t make up my mind until I stand in line on Thursday).

My experiences watching Jackie Kashian, Erin Foley and Maggie Maye have always entertaining. On top of that, what other time will you be able to see Janeane Garofalo, and The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams in a smaller venue?

At 10pm staying at 800 Congress is a good idea for the Stars in Bars showcase. Locals Mike MacCrae, Matt Bearden and Martha Kelly tell jokes alongside Ari Shaffir, Hasan Minhaj and others. I  enjoy line ups like Stars in Bars. It lives up to its name. Bearden, MacCrae and Kelly are old school members of the Austin comedy scene and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see them live, let alone on the same show.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Kurt Metzger (Source: Moontower)
Kurt Metzger (Source: Moontower)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest checking out the Ping Pong Slapdown at Stateside at the Paramount. The event starts at 2pm and is hosted by the Sklar Brothers. Believe it or not, the comedians participating get very competitive. It’s a fun event and there may be a chance to get some free stuff.

Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are recording their podcast, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, at 5pm from Speakeasy. This is one of several podcasts being recorded over the course of the weekend. This event is badge only and seats are sure to fill up fast.

This Is Not Happening is… ahem, happening at 8pm from The Parrish. Many of the acts on the bill have been mentioned in my other recommendations. The reason why I suggest this show is because of Kurt Meztger and Kat Ramzinski. I love these two comedians. The NYC based Metzger’s blunt style of comedy is appealing to me and Ramzinksi is one of the rawest female comedians you’ll come across. Austin is lucky she calls it home.

Other Suggestions

  • Wednesday is the official start of Moontower. While the schedule is light, there are shows at Stateside at the Paramount, Cap City Comedy Club, and the Paramount Theatre.
  • The Stephen F. Austin bar serves as the official lounge of Moontower Comedy Fest. It gets the busiest after the shows start wrapping up. While they accept cards and open tabs, it’s a good idea to take cash to make things quicker at closing time.
  • Many comedians are on a variety of shows during the festival. If you miss a particular act, you have a good chance of catching it again.
  • Be sure to pay attention to the time your shows start, and travel time between venues.
  • Have fun.


Lara’s Guide to Moontower Comedy Fest

By Lara Smith

Asking someone to pick their favorite lineup for Moontower is like asking someone to pick their favorite kid, no one wants to do it, but if you get mom and dad drunk enough, they’ll talk! So I’m sitting down with a nice gin and tonic to give you my picks for Moontower Comedy Festival.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ari Shaffir (Source: Moontower Comedy)
Ari Shaffir (Source: Moontower Comedy)

I’m taking it easy on you day 1. Maybe your plane just landed and you’re still getting acclimated. Maybe you live in the area, but didn’t take the day off of work. I’ll keep it simple for you. You’re welcome to hit up the Pre-Show Happy Hour at the Stephen F. Austin Bar & Terrace at 5pm. After that, find a seat at The Parish by 8pm for This Is Not Happening, the long-form storytelling podcast hosted by Ari Shaffir. The lineup for Thursday includes Debra DiGiovanni, Big Jay Oakerson, and Dan Soder. I’ve heard both Soder and Oakerson tell some incredible stories and I would feel terrible if I let you miss out on this.

Remember when I said I was taking it easy on you today? You don’t even have to leave The Parish to catch my next pick. You’re welcome, because up next is Stashbox at 10:15pm. Hosted by Austin’s reigning Funniest Person in Austin winner, Danny Palumbo, Stashbox includes a lineup of Andy Kindler, Allen Strickland Williams, Maggie Maye, Brendon Walsh, Jak Knight, Randy Liedtke, Chris Cubas, and Jenny Zigrino. The blend of comics on this set is incredible and Cubas and Maye are two of my favorites that still call Austin home. Spoiler alert: With Walsh and Liedtke on the lineup, this is my peace offering for making you miss The Bone Zone on Friday.

Friday, April 22, 2016

David Cross (Source: Moontower Comedy)
David Cross (Source: Moontower Comedy)

You have a day of great comedy ahead of you, but let’s focus on the night. I warned you that I was going to make you miss The Bone Zone, but it’s for good reason. David Cross is finally getting back on the road after a brief hiatus and has picked the Moontower comedy Festival to record his new special, Making America Great Again. Since he’s doing two recordings, I’ve chosen the 7:00pm show (there’s also a 9:30pm) because I have more things in store for you later tonight. It’d be a shame to miss it. If you’ve never been to Austin, The Paramount is a beautiful historic theater that just celebrated its 100th anniversary. Come for the comedy, stay for the atmosphere… but not too long.

After the Paramount Theatre, head north to Cap City Comedy Club to see Ron Funches at 10:30pm. I picked this particular set of Funches’ because Bob Khosravi and Daniel Webb are on the bill. Khosravi has an amazing gift of taking audiences on a story-telling journey. Sometimes it’s to a dark place, but it’s always a great ride! Webb brings a fabulous high-energy performance that will have you smiling for hours after. With Funches (Comedy Central’s @midnight and NBC’s Undateable) closing out your evening, you’ll be set!  No need to thank me (@snowflake1138 on Twitter).

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mike MacRae (Source: Moontower Comedy)
Mike MacRae (Source: Moontower Comedy)

Have I steered you wrong yet? I didn’t think so (thanks for all the tweets), and today won’t be any exception. I’ve given you plenty of time to roam during the day and there’s a lot to see, but we know the nighttime is the right time. Tonight, go to Google Fiber to see Stars in Bars.

This is the showcase that Moontower offers up each year to allow you to see big names in more intimate settings than you normally would. Tonight’s lineup brings you JR Brow, Greg Behrendt, Mike MacRae, James Adomian, Arden Myrin, Brad Williams, Jessica Williams, Phoebe Robinson of 2 Dope Queens, and Erin Foley. I’ve personally seen Brow, Behrendt, and MacRae in the past year and you are in for a treat!  I can tell you with these three alone, there will probably be music, unforgettable impressions, and if you think Behrendt is giving an Oprah-esque class, you’re wrong. His stand up is on point!

Last but not least, I give you my heart, a show so fabulous; I did my first Comedy Wham article on it. At 10:30pm, make your way to The Townsend to see Piranha! Hosted by Matt Bearden, Jesse Joyce is already listed on the panel, and Bearden always has great guests up his sleeve. I could gush about this show, but I already have (go read it). See it for yourself!


I hope this gives you a little guidance and makes your Moontower experience even brighter than the towers of its namesake. Hope to see you out there! Don’t forget, all badges, tickets and information is available on the Moontower Comedy Festival website.

Valerie’s Guide to Moontower Comedy Fest

By Valerie Lopez

Picking a show to see at Moontower Comedy Festival is like picking your favorite child. You end up feeling guilty afterward and someone inevitably hassles you for making the wrong choice. Well, here goes nothing. I’m sure I’ll feel guilt, or at the very least, experience FOMO (fear of missing out) by missing many other splendid shows during the festival.

Thursday April 21, 2016

Ron Funches (Credit: Moontower Comedy)
Ron Funches (Source: Moontower Comedy)

For the first night, I recommend heading up to Cap City Comedy at 8pm to see Ron Funches with Lashonda Lester and Matt Sadler.  Lester and Sadler are fantastic local comics and this is a really cool opporunity to see them with Ron Funches, a Seattle-based comic whose own star has risen over the last few years largely due to his role on the NBC show Undateable.

Lester is a prominent feature of the locally produced Funniest movie and has appeared in Comedy Central shows. Her brand of comedy will pair nicely with Sadler and Funches. Matt Sadler has been very active over the last year. His high energy performance is extremely contagious and his style is reminiscent of Sam Kinneson’s style without making you feel like you’ve done anything wrong.  Between Matt Sadler, Lashonda Lester and Ron Funches, you’re promised a great time.

Runner Up

Cruise downtown to catch Unhinged at 800 Congress at 10pm to see Daniel Webb host for several out of town comics. Webb has been enjoying his own meteoric rise over the last year, possibly accelerated by his appearance as Selena at the 2015 Comedy Seance hosted by Norm Wilkerson (a.k.a. Satan). Daniel Webb recently hosted for The Sklar Brothers and is set to host for Ron Funches on another night of Moontower. He’s been very and you can check out his Comedy Wham Presents interview posted in March. His high-energy sets and hosting skills will lead to a top-notch evening at 800 Congress.

Friday April 22, 2016

Raul Sanchez (Source: Moontower Comedy)
Raul Sanchez (Source: Moontower Comedy)

This one is fairly easy since I’m an avid fan of the Bone Zone podcast with Brendon Walsh and Randy Liedke.  They’re dragging along their frequent guest, Johnny Pemberton, to do a live from The Velv Comedy Lounge at 7pm. You never quite know what to expect with a Bone Zone podcast and Brendon and Randy have a great dynamic together. Brendon is the 2004 FPIA winner and left for Los Angeles in 2009. He comes back to Austin regularly either as a solo act or with Randy.

After the Bone Zone, stay put at The Velv Comedy Lounge to watch The Foxxhole at 10:30pm. Catch Lashonda Lester again along with San Antonio transplant Raul Sanchez. They will be sharing the stage with Jak Knight and Tony Rock. Lester is great of course and Sanchez has been performing more and more in Austin. Having spent a few years in San Antonio, I appreciate his spot-on depictions of life in San Antonio.

Saturday April 23, 2016

Leslie Jones (Source: Moontower Comedy)
Leslie Jones (Source: Moontower Comedy)

If you’ve heard my segment on Radio Tatas “The Lady Warrior Mmmmatt Moment”, a tongue-in-check dedication to Matt Bearden; is it any wonder I wouldn’t let this weekend go by without recommending a Matt Bearden show?  You can see him perform every single night if you’re a super fan, but the highlight for me will be seeing him roll out his Piranha show at The Townsend at 10:30pm with Jesse Joyce.

This show is loosely based on those car auction shows. Instead of cars, comics auction their jokes to the highest bidder. Matt is an actor (known for MTV’s Austin Stories), an FPIA winner and current permanent 3rd chair of 93.7 KLBJ FM’s Dudley and Bob with Matt Morning Show. He’s developed several comedy shows including Punch and Slug.

Since the Piranha show is so late, sneak in a show beforehand like Leslie Loves Colin at 7pm at the Paramount Theatre. Colin Jost and Leslie Jones are the current cast members of Saturday Night Live.  If you don’t know, Jost and Jones have a running bit on SNL News Update where Jones flirts relentlessly with a relentlessly awkward Jost. It’s one of my favorite recurring bits on SNL and their dynamic is nearly as lovable as the dynamic created between Seth Myers and Bill Hader’s character Stefon several years ago.

Tickets to this show are likely to sell out, so if you don’t have a badge, you may be out of luck. It’ll be well worth the effort to try to catch these two mismatched comic love-birds in action. Plus, watching Leslie Jones is a great opportunity to watch one of the rebooted Ghostbusters movie stars in person.


Badge and ticket purchases, schedules, and all other information can be found on the Moontower Comedy Festival website.

Moontower Comedy Fest Returns to Austin

By David Thomas

I enjoy the Moontower Comedy Fest. Every year I have to force myself to pry away from showcases dedicated to local comedians and see out of town comedians. When I do, I always find an act I haven’t heard before and go home with new comedians for my teenager to check out.

Always Something New

moontower-marquisHosted by Austin’s iconic Paramount Theatre, the festival runs from April 20th to April 23rd and features a cross section of the best comedians the nation and Austin has to offer. I always enjoy seeing acts like Big Jay Oakerson, Maria Bamford and Andy Kindler in same weekend. Some of these acts rarely pass through town and quite a bit of time passes between visits of those we consider regulars. Getting to see many of these acts in one weekend helps fill the gaps a bit.

Last year was particularly fun for me. I was able to see Irish comedian David O’Doherty on Pete Holmes’ podcast, You Made It Weird, and catch his stand up.  The dude is magic with a Casio keyboard. This is where Moontower Comedy Fest shines. If not for the festival, I probably wouldn’t have seen O’Dohetry live since he rarely comes to the U.S. (well, that was the case when I spoke to him last year).

More Than Stand Up

Event goers should be very excited about the line up this year. Maya Rudolph, Janeane Garofalo and Martin Short are just a few of the

Brendon Walsh brings The Bone Zone back to Austin
Brendon Walsh brings The Bone Zone back to Austin

headliners scheduled to appear. On top fo that, the SiriusXM radio show Opie with Jim Norton will be doing two shows

over the weekend. Besides Opie with Jim Norton, The Sklar Brothers and Brendon Walsh are bringing their podcasts to town. Sklarbro Country will be doing a live podcast from Speakeasy on the 22nd at 7pm. Bone Zone is podcasting from the Velv Comedy Lounge on the same day at 5pm. Sklarbro Country isn’t the only podcast Speakeasy is hosting. The dynamic duo of Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are bring Jay and Silent Bob Get Old to the Moontower Comedy Fest for a badge only event on the 23rd at 5pm.

It’s cool the festival organizers have expanded into radio/podcast broadcasts. It gives fans an opportunity to see and interact with the comedians in a casual atmosphere. What many people enjoy about these formats is that they feel like they’re part of a conversation – almost like sitting on a front porch and sipping lemonade with the hosts – or something like that.

Don’t Be Overwhelmed

Maria Bamford (Credit: Moontower)
Maria Bamford (Credit: Moontower)

Moontower Comedy Festival staples return in the form of the lounge at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel where fans can have a few drinks and mingle with comedians over the weekend. At 2pm on the 23rd, the Sklar Brothers will host the annual Ping Pong Smackdown. This is always fun to watch as comedians vie for the championship while the Sklar Brothers provide color commentary.

Choosing which show, headliner or event to attend can be overwhelming for a fan. Don’t worry, we at Comedy Wham have you covered. Over the course of the next week, Valerie, Lara and I will be posting our recommendations for the Moontower Comedy Festival. Of course, these are only recommendations and are not intended to be a yellow brick road.


Badges and single tickets to headlining shows are still available.  All badges come with reduced rate parking at One American Center which is just a block west of the Stephen F. Austin Hotel.  All festival information can be found on Moontower Comedy Fest’s website.