Lara Smith: Moontower Comedy 2019 Recap

May 3, 2019

Josh Adam Mey­ers, the infa­mous Robert”, Jere­mi­ah Watkins, and Avery Pear­son at The God­damn Com­e­dy Jam

Just when you think an amaz­ing fes­ti­val can’t get any bet­ter, Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val arrives and proves you wrong. This year’s line­up and sched­ule made for some dif­fi­cult choic­es, at times, but if you planned it strate­gi­cal­ly, you had a good chance of see­ing almost every com­ic at the fes­ti­val. Even with a few last minute changes, the fes­ti­val seemed to flow effortlessly.

I use the word seemed,” because I know in order to pro­duce a fes­ti­val that makes atten­dees and per­form­ers so sat­is­fied, it takes a good team and a lot of work. While we were enjoy­ing this year’s com­e­dy, the team at Moon­tow­er was already two weeks into plan­ning Moon­tow­er 2020! And yes, badges are already on sale. 

What struck me most about Moon­tow­er this time was the real­iza­tion of the sense of com­mu­ni­ty the fes­ti­val, now in its eighth year, has cul­ti­vat­ed. This is my fourth year at the fes­ti­val and it seems to have a cul­ture and a life of its own now. For that time peri­od, I am immersed in com­e­dy and Austin feels like a vaca­tion spot, not just my home. After return­ing to Moon­tow­er, you rec­og­nize faces, you may even know names, of oth­ers that you see each year. In this way, Moon­tow­er itself becomes a com­fort­able old friend.

There is no bet­ter exam­ple of this sense of com­mu­ni­ty than The God­damn Com­e­dy Jam. The cre­ation of Josh Adam Mey­ers, the Jam returned for its fourth year and many of the same faces showed up. Almost like a reli­gious expe­ri­ence, the crowd is asked to give your­self over” to the expe­ri­ence and ful­ly par­tic­i­pate. Resis­tance is futile because it is the most amaz­ing way to close your evening. Last year a mas­cot was cho­sen, so to speak. Robert was hand picked from the crowd to come on stage and become a part of the show. He embod­ies the lit­er­al trans­for­ma­tion, that at Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val, per­form­ers and fans blend so nat­u­ral­ly, you may become part of the per­for­mance. Robert is our every­man, or should we say every­fan.” Quick­ly repris­ing his role this year, he was brought to the stage with his theme song and chants of, ROBERT! ROBERT!” I chal­lenge you to find a fes­ti­val that gets so per­son­al with the fans.

In addi­tion to GDCJ, the fes­ti­val brought back its sig­na­ture show­cas­es, Stars in Bars, Major FOMO, Bye Feli­cia!, and SHE­BANG, just to name a few. How­ev­er this year the addi­tion of Austin Film Festival’s Sto­ry On, gave more focused inter­views with greats such as Kevin McDon­ald and Dana Gould. This year also so the addi­tion of one Roast Bat­tle, host­ed by Bri­an Moses. The live­ly show, paired with huge audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion, leaves me hop­ing Roast Bat­tle becomes as much a part of the fes­ti­val as GDCJ

Anoth­er thing Moon­tow­er excels at is blend­ing sea­soned and fresh tal­ent togeth­er. Bring­ing in com­e­dy icons, up-and-com­ers, and new faces, the fes­ti­val gives vari­ety to fans and won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ties to per­form­ers. Fes­ti­val goers get a taste of the local scene pep­pered through­out the show, as well as in Austin Tow­ers showcase. 

I believe PMD (Post-Moon­tow­er Depres­sion) may be added to the DSM as an offi­cial diag­no­sis soon, because com­ing down off the high of almost a week of laugh­ter is dif­fi­cult. My pre­scrip­tion for this sea­son­al con­di­tion? Go sup­port your local com­e­dy scene and get your badges for next year now!