Moontower Comedy 2019: Valerie's Picks and Recommendations!

April 24, 2019

This year, my 2019 Moon­tow­er Fes­ti­val rec­om­men­da­tions are guid­ed by 3 guid­ing prin­ci­ples to ensure max­i­mum fun. My 3 prin­ci­ples might not be the win­ning recipe for you, but chances are, if you set a few guid­ing prin­ci­ples for your­self, you’ll have a pret­ty rock­ing good time. I’m going to take advan­tage of the show­cas­es more so than the head­lin­ers at Para­mount or State­side this year. Like many of my friends, I’m on a bud­get, but there is 1 head­lin­er on my rec­om­mend­ed list and if you’re on a bud­get, there’s bound to be a head­lin­er show that will sat­is­fy your crav­ing for the large com­e­dy venue” per­for­mance with­out break­ing the bank.

New App for 2019 Fes­ti­val Goers!

The Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val is grow­ing — the Wednes­day night line­up up is big­ger than ever this year and the num­ber of shows and per­form­ers is get­ting hard­er and hard­er to fol­low. Thanks to tech­nol­o­gy geeks, the fes­ti­val has cre­at­ed an amaz­ing app avail­able for both iTunes and Android users. I’ve already down­loaded mine and am ready to explore and refine my sched­ule. Be sure to down­load yours if you plan on see­ing shows every night.

Get it for:

Valerie’s 3 Guid­ing Prin­ci­ples for 2019 Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy Festival


What is GDCJ? If you are among the con­vert­ed, you know that the God­damn Com­e­dy Jam (GDCJ) with Josh Adam Mey­ers is a cathar­tic, near­ly reli­gious expe­ri­ence. Blend­ing tra­di­tion­al com­e­dy show­case with song cov­ers, the par­ty is front­ed by fire­crack­er Mey­ers along with his back­ing band (with Avery Pear­son on key­board) and road­ie” (Jere­mi­ah Watkins). For 2019, the GDCJ will include fea­tured sets and per­for­mances by Mary Lynn Rajskub, The Sklar Broth­ers, Jon Rud­nit­sky, Big Jay Oak­er­son, Joe DeRosa, Jon Dore, Bon­nie McFar­lane, Rich Vos, Brad Williams, and Adam Ray. In some cas­es (Ray, DeRosa, Sklars, and Oak­er­son) comics will per­form on 2 of the 3 nights. I’ve seen each of these per­form­ers at past Moon­tow­er GDCJs and they are rich­ly deserv­ing of their dou­ble spots. If you brave the 3 nights of the GDCJ, you will be left breath­less, out of a voice, and overjoyed.

Avery Pear­son is host­ing his own shows for the first time ever at Moon­tow­er and my best friend* Jere­mi­ah Watkins is bring­ing back his high­ly pop­u­lar Stand Up On the Spot show­case (which rou­tine­ly sells out at the Hol­ly­wood Com­e­dy Store) to the fes­ti­val. In addi­tion, Watkins is part of The Wave” with Roast Bat­tle which is return­ing (after a suc­cess­ful run for last mon­th’s SXSW) to Austin and should not be missed.

Each of the guest per­form­ers will appear on show­cas­es of their own or per­haps even pod­cast record­ings of their own (Oak­er­son with Dan Soder on Bon­fire, Ray and Williams on About Last Night, The Sklars on Dumb Peo­ple Town). One of the live pod­cast record­ings I’m thrilled to watch in per­son is front­man Mey­er’s pas­sion project, The 500 with Josh Adam Mey­ers. Mey­ers is pas­sion­ate about music and he recent­ly launched a pod­cast that will review and dis­cuss each of the Rolling Stone Top 500 albums of all time. He brings on a guest to dis­sect an album and as of Moon­tow­er 2019, Mey­ers has reached album #476 (Noto­ri­ous B.I.G. Life After Death with guest Bert Kreis­ch­er) and will be tap­ing a live The 500 with guests Big Jay Oak­er­son and The Sklar Broth­ers. If you love music, then you need to attend this live tap­ing and join the Fleece Army.

Guid­ing Prin­ci­ple #1

Attend all GDCJs and fol­low any one of the GDCJ mem­bers or guest per­form­ers and you will be plen­ty busy!

*Jere­mi­ah is so friend­ly he makes you feel like he’s every­body’s best friend and has shared his time with us at Com­e­dy Wham most gen­er­ous­ly. One of THE hard­est work­ing comics out there.

2. O Canada

I very much enjoy Cana­di­an com­e­dy. From the Kids in the Hall to SNL alums Mike Mey­ers and Dan Akroyd, to my beloved John Can­dy (I can watch Uncle Buck on repeat and nev­er ever tire of it), I love the Cana­di­an sense of humor. But, my prob­lem is these are per­form­ers from my younger days, and I’ve been strug­gling to keep up with con­tem­po­rary Cana­di­an comics until this year.

It all began with Net­flix’s hero­ic effort in releas­ing Comics of the World and dis­cov­er­ing DeAnne Smith and K Trevor Wil­son. Though admit­ted­ly, only Smith was a total­ly new dis­cov­ery, I was already wowed by Wil­son by way of Let­terken­ny (help us all if we’re trapped in a room and I have to con­firm any­thing with you or our con­ver­sa­tion is becom­ing heat­ed or if we dis­cuss hock­ey — insid­ers will know). Thanks to this year’s Moon­tow­er, I can see not only Smith and Wil­son, but also fel­low Cana­di­ans Kevin McDon­ald, John Dore, Nathan Mac­in­tosh, and Bon­nie McFar­lane as they per­form on a ded­i­cat­ed show called Cana­di­ans of Com­e­dy on Thurs­day night. And each of those per­form­ers will be doing a num­ber of oth­er show­cas­es, so just because you miss the Cana­di­ans of Com­e­dy show­case (I won­der if we’ll have to sing O Cana­da to kick it off? hmm, I bet­ter study just in case), does­n’t mean you miss out on see­ing these proud Cana­di­ans on oth­er stages, at oth­er times*.

Guid­ing Prin­ci­ple #2

Attend the Cana­di­ans of Com­e­dy show­case and then fol­low any of the per­form­ers as they take over (in a very typ­i­cal­ly polite Cana­di­an way) Moontower.

* Maple syrup option­al.

3. SNL

My bio on Com­e­dy Wham’s web­site declares in its first sen­tence that I grew up unabashed­ly lov­ing Sat­ur­day Night Live (SNL). This year, we have a few chances to catch SNL per­form­ers past and present (and maybe even future in the case of at least one performer).

David Spade is a past SNL per­former often asso­ci­at­ed with his fre­quent pair­ings with the late Chris Far­ley, col­lab­o­ra­tions with Adam San­dler, and well known for his role on NBC’s Just Shoot Me. He’s a Para­mount The­ater head­lin­er on Thurs­day night. Spade has made a recent return to standup, so this is an excit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to watch him in action.

Oth­er past SNL cast mem­bers at this year’s fes­ti­val include Sasheer Zama­ta (who will be a fea­tured guest on Austin Film Festival’s On Sto­ry) and Jon Rud­nit­sky (one of my favorite per­form­ers at the 2017 Moon­tow­er festival).

Chris Redd is a cur­rent fea­tured play­er and has quick­ly made a mark for him­self and will no doubt attain reper­to­ry play­er sta­tus with his flex­i­bil­i­ty (from Ger­maine in Cha Cha Slide to Soul­ja Boy on Week­end Update to Corey Book­er to the stu­dent in Mr. H). Redd will be per­form­ing with Spade at the Para­mount and has mul­ti­ple per­for­mances each night of the festival.

Bowen Yang is a cur­rent staff writer for SNL and made an indeli­ble impres­sion on me this sea­son when he was cast as Kim Jong-un dur­ing host San­dra Oh’s episode. It was a bril­liant sketch and it was excit­ing to see how nat­ur­al Yang was on the SNL stage (he has plen­ty of TV per­for­mances to his cred­it, it was­n’t a fluke) that I could only hope that he’ll get picked up as a fea­ture or reper­to­ry per­former in the future. Yang has a pod­cast called Las Cul­tur­is­tas which he co-hosts with Matt Rogers and in addi­tion to Yang’s show­case per­for­mances through­out the fes­ti­val, you’ve got a chance to watch a live tap­ing of Culturistas.

Guid­ing Prin­ci­ple #3

Seek out past, present, and maybe future SNL per­form­ers and writ­ers to feel a sense of con­nec­tion to the sketch com­e­dy stal­wart as they per­form live from Austin’s Moon­tow­er Festival”.

The Details

  • God­damn Com­e­dy Jam is every night from Thurs­day to Sat­ur­day night. The show is at Antone’s Thurs­day and Fri­day and moves to The Parish on Sat­ur­day night. Start times vary from 11:30 to 11:55.
  • Cana­di­ans of Com­e­dy is Thurs­day night at Speakeasy at 8pm. Each per­former on that show­case has mul­ti­ple appear­ances through­out the festival.
  • Sat­ur­day Night Live performers/​writes — David Spade head­lines Thurs­day night at 7 at the Para­mount with Chris Redd fea­tur­ing. Redd per­forms through­out through out the fes­ti­val. Bowen Yang will record his pod­cast Las Cul­tur­is­tas Fri­day night at 6pm at Speakeasy and have per­for­mances through­out the festival.
  • Fol­low my guid­ing prin­ci­ples or cre­ate your own by load­ing the Moon­tow­er Com­e­dy app on your phone to track per­form­ers, shows, and pod­casts. Avail­able on both iOS and Android!