Valerie Lopez: Moontower Comedy 2019 Recap

May 2, 2019

2019 Moon­tow­er Fes­ti­val is a wrap and I bet you’re all won­der­ing how life with my 3 prin­ci­ples worked out for me? Superbly, if I might say so myself. The fes­ti­val was as smooth as but­ter and as a 4‑time attendee, I noticed sub­tle changes and a few new dis­count perks that my pock­et­book was grate­ful for. Throw in the amaz­ing new app, and it was easy to keep track of where to go and when!
Guid­ing Prin­ci­ple #1

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

Between the live pod­cast of Josh Adam Mey­er’s The 500 and watch­ing Jere­mi­ah Watkins sole head­lin­er spot – and the amaz­ing on-stage melt­down” he gift­ed his audi­ence – I was a hap­py camper. And,of course, the GDCJ for 3 straight nights did not dis­ap­point. The fact that Imprac­ti­cal Jok­ers mem­ber Sal Vul­cano made 2 unan­nounced guest appear­ances (once to a riv­et­ing Sure Shot Beast­ie Boys per­for­mance, and anoth­er time to a decid­ed­ly dif­fer­ent style of song in the form of Lau­ra Brani­gan’s Glo­ria) was a huge deal for me and my son who got to live vic­ar­i­ous­ly through pic­tures and video snip­pets I shared with him. I think the stand­out per­for­mance of all GDCJ’s was Mary Lynn Rajskub’s pow­er­ful and vul­ner­a­ble per­for­mance of Radio­head­’s Creep. It’s moments like this that keep me firm­ly plant­ed as a super­fan of the Jam.

In fol­low Jere­mi­ah Watkins” news, I watched one of the most amaz­ing Com­e­dy Cen­tral’s Roast Bat­tle (Jere­mi­ah is a mem­ber of The Wave) per­for­mances of my life. Our local rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the bat­tle did us proud and we’re cross­ing fin­gers and toes that their per­for­mance dur­ing Moon­tow­er gives them oppor­tu­ni­ties on the nation­al Roast Bat­tle stage. Dare I say that the locals out­shone the nation­al comics who bat­tled? Yes, I dare say! We were so proud at how Jas­mine Ellis, Lea’h Samp­son, Cari­na Mag­yar and Chris Cubas performed!

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.

Woah Cana­da, amiright? I learned a lot by focus­ing on Cana­da. The Cana­di­ans of Com­e­dy was a fan­tas­tic show­case. Met some comics I was­n’t famil­iar with. Some, like Jon Dore, have been com­ing through Austin for years, but this was the first time I’d ever watched him per­form. I loved his flair for mis­di­rec­tion (he also did a per­fect mis­di­rect on the GDCJ — ask me about it some­time). I was lucky enough to see DeAnne Smith and Nathan Mac­in­tosh a cou­ple of times through­out the week­end and thought their per­for­mances, though very styl­is­ti­cal­ly dif­fer­ent, were com­mand­ing and hilarious.

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”.

This prin­ci­ple led me to watch Chris Redd through­out the week­end — I watched him per­form standup, sing a rous­ing ren­di­tion of How You Remind Me on the GDCJ, and as a guest on the pod­cast Off Book (an impro­vised musi­cal — and a mas­ter­ful­ly exe­cut­ed con­cept on Ear­wolf, no stranger to excel­lent pod­casts). While I did get to see Jon Rud­nit­sky and Bowen Yang per­form a few times, Redd was for me the stand­out per­former of the festival.

I was lucky enough to sit down with a few per­form­ers, so stay tuned for inter­views over the next few weeks. It’s amaz­ing how much tal­ent comes through Austin for this fes­ti­val, and we get to share tiny glimpses of that tal­ent with you! Badges for 2020 are on sale now with an ear­ly bird dis­count. Go ahead and grab yours, I’m look­ing for­ward to my 5th year of cov­er­ing the fes­ti­val and dis­cov­er­ing new talents!