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Moontower Comedy Festival

Moontower Comedy Festival Provides Star-Studded Laughs


Moontower Comedy Fest Review


It seems like every weekend Austin has some major feature or festival planned. Whether it’s a 5k race or SXSW, it is easy for Austinites to become jaded to the parade of festivities that our city regularly hosts. While ACL, SXSW, and Formula 1 are weekends that jut out of the collective consciousness as major calendar events, there are a slew of quality festivals that don’t get nearly as much recognition. Moontower Comedy Festival is, in my opinion, the most criminally underrated festival on the annual Austin calendar. On a trajectory of steady growth and improvement, Moontower Comedy Fest continues to attract major comedian headliners,  but simultaneously puts in the groundwork to fill out it’s undercard with a plethora of talented yet lesser-known comics. 


This year Moontower outdid itself with featured comics like Mike Birbiglia, Judah Friedlander, Maria Bamford, Janeane Garofalo, David Cross, Weird Al, and the red-hot Tiffany Haddish all playing at the prestigious and classic Paramount and Stateside theaters. Moontower revolves around 12 venues that host a variety of shows, screenings, and panels – so while there may be a healthy dose of walking involved, there is always something to attend, leaving little down time.  While the festival lasts from Wednesday-Saturday night, there are countless events and themes that will leave many attendees having to prioritize which event to see. 


With a variety of comics and events jammed into a whirlwind of a weekend, it is an arduous process of selecting the shows that stood a head above the rest, but here three that turned a few heads.


Mike Birbiglia @ Paramount Theater on Thursday Night


Birbiglia seems to be everywhere these days.  Appearances on tv shows, standup specials, and feature films are all under Mike’s belt.  His standup didn’t seem to get pidgeon-holed into any one category, he dabbled in politics, sex, and married life which all coalesced into an incredible show. (His take on the Boston Marathon bombing, while morbid, almost gave me a cracked rib)


The Comedy Resistance @ Paramount Theater on Friday Night


 A group of comics, musicians, and polticians came together to rally against Trump with anecdotes of the election and twisted theories on what’s next.  David Cross, Maria Bamford, Judah Friedlander, Julio Torres, Janelle James and many other performers took the stage for a hodgepodge of political insight and humor.  Friedlander and Cross stole the show with a deluge of crass but hilarious political  bits.  Politician, Gina Ortiz Jones, and musician, Ted Leo, offered some variety but the comics dominated the liberal and willing audience.

Tiffany Haddish @ Paramount Theater on Saturday Night


Still unknown to large swaths of the American public, Tiffany Haddish is quickly becoming a national treasure.  Her appearances in popular film comedies, hosting Saturday Night Live, and her close friendship with Beyonce have established Tiffany as an undebiable talent  that we want to know more about.  Closer to a rock star than comedian, Haddish’s performance was electric, provocative, and viscerally hilarious.  Admitting that she had to scrap what she had written, because the audience is almost all-white, Haddish improvised and riffed on a variety of subjects. While Tiffany shines brightest when talking about sex, it was a bit about stealing a man’s soul that sent many in the crowd falling into the aisles.


While Moontower Comedy Festival doesn’t assume the same gravity that some of the other events in town have, it does offer a perfect triumvirate of affordable prices, professional staff and logistics, and quality talent that returns with consistency.  The festival is a truly unique Austin experience that appeals to an eclectic mix of demographics but all boils down to  the simple fact that it has succeeded in making thousands of people laugh.


 Moontower Festival Photos


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