Moontower 2018 Preview

by Dany Recio

Moontower Comedy 2018

April is the culmination of all this fine city has to offer in the world of comedy. It’s like Comedy New Year, except everyone’s new years’ resolution is to finally “tell it like it is.” It starts with the Funniest Person in Austin Competition held at Cap City Comedy Club. If you don’t know what that is, just as any local standup comedian and they’ll have A LOT to say about it. But smack-dab in the middle of the competition is the Moontower Comedy Festival. This festival has been a staple in the city since its inception in 2012. Every year it brings some the cities biggest headliners, two dozen of the industry’s rising stars, and showcases some of the cities best locals. Shows go from Wednesday through Saturday, you can buy tickets to individual shows or get a badge and watch basically everything.

As a local, a comedian, a fan of comedy, and holder of the coveted ‘press badge’ it is my duty and burden to comb through the festival schedule and let you know which shows are, “Oooooh that’s going to be a good one” and which ones are going to be “Well you bought a badge so you might as well go watch”.


If you wanted to know about the super famous comedians coming through, too bad. This is OVRLD, we’re all about locals, baby. I’ll get to the headliners later cause the locals are great. Some of these performers could be headliners someday and Austin is all about knowing the cool spots first. So get in on the ground floor and check out the local showcases, they will not disappoint.

Austin Towers! Showcase at the Velveeta Room

The 9:00 show on the 19th is stacked with some of my favorites. I won’t say who, can’t play favorites, but I’d catch this one if I were you. The Velveeta room is on 6th street, so afterwards you can go party or people watch, I like to go down there and remind myself that the street and all its debauchery helped make this city famous. Also, while you’re at the Velveeta room tell the bartender, Pat Dean, that I sent you. It won’t get you anything, except maybe a laugh.

April 19th, 9pm – The Velveeta Room

Piranha at Cap City Comedy Club

Get out of all the raucous in downtown and head just north of central to Cap City Comedy Club for the comedy game show, Piranha. It’s hosted by Matt Bearden, whom you might have heard on the Dudley and Bob Show. He brings up a handful of talented local comedians to try and ‘sell’ jokes to a panel of pros. The material is always fresh and new and the banter between the pros and the comedians performing is always great. Plus, with so many pros in town for the festival this one is sure to be filled with some of the best and hopefully a couple of surprise guests.

April 20th, 10pm – Cap City Comedy Club

Austin Towers! at the Fallout Theater

Cap the week off with a local showcase at one of the city’s locally sourced theaters. Austin Towers at the Fallout Theater has a packed lineup of some the cities best up-and-coming comics. Sure, seeing Mike Birbiglia at the beautiful Paramount is nice but I like feeling special and every row in a small theater is the first row. There’s not a ton of pressure on the comics in these smaller spaces so this always opens up the door to more spontaneity in the show. The theater is on West 6th, just off of Lavaca, tucked away in a basement. You can’t beat the charm of this improv theater, it feels like an old speakeasy, if after you said the password they said ‘Yes and…’ and they still didn’t let you in.

April 21st, 10:30 – The Fallout Theater


Podcasts! You’ve heard of them, right? It certainly feels like they’re everywhere these days and I guess the best people to run them should be funny, so by no surprise some of the most popular podcasts headed by comedians will be doing live shows for Moontower.


This podcast tackles the big questions. How do I write a good thank you note? What’s business and business casual? When should I wear my sweatpants? Hosted by wife and husband duo, Teresa and Travis McElroy, week by week the podcast works to improve your etiquette. I probably should go watch this one! Note: this is the only podcast that is a Stateside Headliner, so I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty popular. If I were you, I’d get my tickets or start planning on going soon.

April 18th, 7pm – IFC Stage Stateside

The Dork Forest

Dork-on-Dork dialog is a new phrase I just learned that summarizes all my conversations since I was 15. (Don’t be fooled I wasn’t cool before then either) Jackie Kashian is the host of Dork Forest which basically does what we wish we could do with our favorite comedians and just talk about oh… I don’t know… anything they flippin’ want. Maybe it won’t all be Star Wars the Original Trilogy references, it could be bug anatomy or the deconstruction of the human ego. Guys, that’s the cool thing about this one is you literally won’t know until you watch it. It’s at the Fallout Theater, which if you were paying attention earlier in the article (small, intimate, local) is a rad place.

April 20th, 6pm – The Fallout Theater

Unmasked with Ron Bennington

This one could be a real gem. Ron Bennington has sat down and chatted with some of the most iconic writers and performers for his podcast Unmasked. He’s got two dates for the festival, one at the Velv on the 20th with David Cross and then again at the Velv on the 21st with Judah Friedlander. If knowing what goes on behind the scenes with these comedians is your thing, than I say don’t skip it. It’ll be fun, it’ll be serious, it’ll just be really interesting. Plus, there’s two of these so it’s hard to say, “Oh I don’t know I got a pretty busy schedule planned out.” Come on, dude!

April 20th, 5pm – SiriusXM Stage at the Velveeta Room (David Cross)

April 21st, 5pm – SiriusXM Stage at the Velveeta Room (Judah Friedlander)

Most Stoked

I’m just excited for these cause they’re cool and different. You’ll watch literally hours of standup, why not shake it up with something a little different?

WYFD? (What’s Your Fucking Deal?)

Watching someone in the audience get roasted by the comedian is hilarious, unless it’s you in which case ‘that wasn’t funny’. If you’ve got thicker skin though, this show is going to be a hell of a time. Big Jay Oakerson hosts a night of him and his favorite comics doing sets built entirely on crowd work. You get to be the joke! Can you believe it?! I have a friend who’s always asking if he’ll ever make it into a joke, so I’m making his dream come true and taking him to this show.

April 19th, 8pm – April 20th, 11:30 – April 21st, 9pm

All at the Do512 Stage at the Parish

GODDAMN Comedy Jam

Basically comedians tell a story about their favorite song and then they sing it karaoke-style with a live band. I’m a huge fan of karaoke but they never let me bring my little brothers’ band to play their Limp Bizkit covers, which I think would really add to the atmosphere of the sushi restaurant. Since I can’t do that, I guess I’ll just settle for these talented professionals or whatever. They’ve got a huge list of comics performing, so rock out? I don’t know. What’s a cool thing to say, here?

April 19th, 11:30 – April 20th, 11:55 at Antone’s Nightclub

April 21st, 11pm – at Do512 Stage at The Parish

New York’s Finest

New York Comedy is iconic, just like the city it has its own character. New York tends to be the place where a good comic becomes a real professional. The unfortunate thing is I can’t afford to go to New York City, at least not right now. Luckily, Moontower is bringing that New York right to me! I mean, us! New york’s Finest is showcase that’s made up entirely of New York Comics. Well comics who live in New York now and are pros. You can catch all of these comics on other shows throughout the festival but this many amazing comics on one showcase is hard to beat. I know earlier I said, “ You’ll watch literally hours of standup, why not shake it up with blah blah blah.” This showcase is too good to pass up.

April 19th, 9:30 – Showtime Stage at 800 Congress

April 20th, 9:30 – Do512 at the Parish


Probably don’t need to spend too much time convincing you that the headliners are worth watching. Their body of work should speak for themselves. I will say sometimes this is the only time these performers come through Austin in a year so… Just maybe think about trying to catch at least one or two but here’s a list:

Tig Notaro, Jo Koy, Mike Birbiglia, Tiffany Haddish, Weird Al Yankovich,  Ali Siddiq, Preacher Lawson, Ryan Hamilton, Maria Bamford, Nikki Glaser, Janeane Garofalo

I know when we all moved to Austin from wherever it is we’re from, we heard, “Live Music Capital of the World.” Well, they probably should have included, “Live Comedy is Here Too (and it’s like blowing up and stuff)”. That probably didn’t fit well on a t-shirt, so I get it. This is city is chock-full of stuff year-round. I mean we really shouldn’t be planning so many activities, like when do we get anything done? But I’ll gladly take a week off in April year for this festival. It’s the nation’s best kept comedy-secret and you’re literally already here. So…