Ring in 2016 with laughter

Dana Gould

Is there a better way to bid farewell to one year and welcome the next than laughing ’til your sides ache?

Much of Austin’s comedy scene goes slack on New Year’s Eve, and I don’t get it. When I was in a sketch comedy group, it was always our biggest night of the year.

In any event, there are still a few places you can kick 2015’s butt out the door in hilarious style. Check out these options:

The Hideout Theatre rings in the New Year with an enchanted evening of improv games, scenes and a champagne toast at midnight. Improvisers reflect on the year that’s passed, speculate about the year to come and celebrate that magical moment of transition between the two. The early show at 8 p.m. features five of Austin’s finest professional improvisers. The 10:30 performance careens full speed into the new year with a special champagne toast as the ball drops at midnight. $30, 8 and 10:30 p.m.; 617 Congress Ave. hideouttheatre.com

Tickets are going fast for Esther’s Follies’ annual New Year’s Eve Bash. In addition to the usual mix of musical and sketch comedy magic (and magic magic, too, courtesy of prestidigitator Ray Anderson) tickets for the pair of New Year’s Eve shows include a Tex-Mex buffet, a glass of champagne and a NYE hat and goody bag. $55-$65, 8 and 10:30 pm.; 525 E 6th St. esthersfollies.com

Local comics including Martin Urbano, Kelsey Caine, Sam Harter and others plan to tickle funny bones at Speakeasy’s Rumrunners Comedy Showcase. The band Suede plays, too. $49-$200, 8:15 p.m. 412 Congress Ave. Get tickets here

Want to laugh in 2016 but don’t want to bother with the downtown crowds? New Year’s Eve will be hopping at Cap City Comedy Club, where comic’s comic, writer for “The Simpsons” star of the late, lamented Fred Savage sitcom “Working” and Moontower Festival stalwart Dana Gould cracks wise. As if that’s not enough, Austin celeb and host of The CW’s “ATX Uncensored-ish,” Brian Gaar, performs, too. The early show includes a general admission pass for two that can be used in 2016 (not valid for special events); the late show includes that same pass as well as party favors, a midnight champagne toast and a dessert treat. $20-$25, 8 p.m.; $40-$45, 10:30 p.m.; 8120 Research Blvd. capcitycomedy.com.

Moontower Comedy Fest announces first wave of performers; badges on sale now

The Paramount Theatre, which produces Austin’s annual Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival, has announced the early lineup of comedians who will appear in 2016 and has placed discounted, early bird badges on sale. The festival takes place from April 20-23, 2016 at venus throughout Austin.

Martin_ShortSlated performers thus far include Martin Short, Kevin Smith, Maria Bamford, Jim Norton, Debra DiGiovanni, Piff the Magic Dragon, Sklar Brothers, Ron Funches, and Anjelah Johnson (who will present her popular character Bon Qui Qui’s Gold Plated Dreams Tour featuring Group 1 Crew).

Short, Smith, Bamford and Johnson will headline on the Paramount Theater stage, while writer, comedian, podcaster, and film director Smith will also present a live taping of his “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old” podcast with buddy Jason Mewes as a special badge-only event.

Returning favorites include Andy Kindler, James Adomian and the Sklar Brothers, and newcomers include new “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jon Rudnitsky and “America’s Got Talent’s” Piff the Magic Dragon.

Here’s the current list of performers:

James Adomian, Maria Bamford, Ahmed Bharoocha, Joe DeRosa, Debra DiGiovanni, Sean Donnelly, Jo Firestone, Ron Funches, Goddamn Comedy Jam, Angela Johnson, Jesse Joyce, Andy Kindler, The Lampshades, Matteo Lane, Annie Lederman, Joe List, Josh Adam Meyers, Jim Norton, Johnny Pemberton, Piff the Magic Dragon, Tony Rock, Jon Rudnitsky, Martin Short, Sklar Brothers, Kevin Smith, Beth Stelling, Brad Williams, and Jenny Zigrino.

Moontower FAN, ACE, and VIP badges are now on sale at an early bird discount at www.moontowercomedyfest.com, at the Paramount Theatre box office, or by calling 512-474-1221. Single-show tickets for Paramount headliner shows will go on sale at a later date.

For the most current festival skinny, follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s how the rain delay affects Fun Fun Fun Fest comedy

The Fun Fun Fun Fest crowds were kept waiting Saturday while organizers walked the venue with Austin’s Parks Department, making sure that the grounds were dry enough, according to Jennifer Sinski from Giant Noise, the festival promoter.

While people waited in line, their badges were scanned so that they could enter immediately once the gates opened. In addition, they were offered snacks and water while in line.

The doors opened around 1:10, which affected the comedy schedule; acts were slated to begin performing at 12:20 p.m.

As a result, all acts prior to Sandbox with Rob Gagnon at 1:35 have been cancelled. That show will go on as planned and the rest of the Yellow Tent schedule should remain the same, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Promoters recommend that fest-goers download the Fun Fun Fun Fest app for the most current information.

Tig Notaro’s Fun Fun Fun Fest Friday shows canceled

  Standup comic Tig Notaro’s Friday shows at Fun Fun Fun Fest have been called off. Her flight was canceled, according to a Fest spokesperson, and she will not arrive in Austin until Saturday.

Her 4:25 p.m. Friday show is being replaced by One Night Stand, a live comedy dating show hosted by Vanessa Gonzalez and Michael Foulk.

Notaro was also scheduled to perform Friday in a Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites show at the North Door. That show will go on, but Notaro will not be present.

Instead, the comic is being added to Saturday’s schedule. She will perform at 4:40 p.m. On the Yellow Stage.

Here’s how to attend KLRU’s free ‘Overheard’ taping with Mary Lynn Rajskub

Mary Lynn Rajskub
Mary Lynn Rajskub

Evan Smith‘s KLRU series, “Overheard with Evan Smith,” is taking advantage of comic/actress Mary Lynn Rajskub‘s September stint at Cap City Comedy Club to get her into the studio for a taping.

Rajskub, a touring stand-up and Moontower Comedy Festival veteran best known for portraying hacker Chloe O’Brien on Fox television’s “24,” sits down with Smith at 3:45 p.m. on Aug. 28 (doors open at 3:15 p.m.). The taping takes place at KLRU’s Studio 6A, located on the east side of Guadalupe St. between 25th and Dean Keeton Streets.

Admission is free, but RSVPs are required. They can be obtained by clicking here.

The comic is also a veteran of HBO’s “Mr. Show With Bob and David,” poised to make a comeback on Netflix, and can be seen as a panelist on “Chelsea Lately.” She plays Cap City Aug. 27-29.

Brian Gaar to host new, late night comedy show on The CW

Brian Gaar
Brian Gaar

When we say “local boy makes good,” we mean local.

Austin stand-up comic Brian Gaar, who worked as a reporter for many years at the Austin American-Statesman, has snagged an original, new, local late night comedy show on The CW.

The station is touting the show, called “ATX Uncensored-ish,” as “similar to a clip show, a little like a talk show and hopefully a bit funny…ish.” Gaar, along with co-hosts Kath Barbadoro and Joe Barlow, will poke fun at local events and topics that Austinites are talking about on social media.

“If it happens in or around Austin then it’s fair game and no one is safe,” a CW Austin press release reads.

Gaar should be familiar to Austin comedy fans. He can be heard on SiriusXM’s Raw Dog comedy channel and he was named one of the funniest people on Twitter by Playboy and Paste magazines. He has contributed material to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Funny or Die, Esquire, CBS News, Playboy, Salon and the Huffington Post. And his hour-long comedy special, “Jokes I Wrote at Work,” can be found on Hulu.

His CW Austin show is scheduled to begin this fall. We’ll let you know when the station announces a date and time.

Meanwhile, to learn more about” ATX Uncensored-ish,” log onto thecwaustin.com or follow the show on Twitter at twitter.com/ATXuncensored.

Watch: Maggie Maye performs on ‘Conan’ on Thursday

Update: Watch Maggie Maye perform on “Conan” below.

Earlier: Remember when I told y’all that this was going to be Maggie Maye’s year?

Well, the Austin standup comic is slated to perform on Conan O’Brien’s late night TBS talk show Thursday, and it’s only August.

Stand-up comic Maggie Maye.
Stand-up comic Maggie Maye.

“I found out I got it while walking my dog in my neighborhood,” says the Moontower Comedy and Fun Fun Fun Fest veteran who recently headlined at Austin’s Velveeta Room. “I just started screaming and had to quickly carry my dog home so I could call my siblings without causing a ruckus in the street.”

Messages of congratulations are filling Maye’s social media streams, and she’s overwhelmed by the support from fellow comics and Austinites.

“It’s like a dream,” she says.

Kevin Bacon will also appear on the program, so we’ve all just knocked one more degree of separation off of our connections.

Catch the hilarious Miss Maggie on “Conan” at 10 p.m. Thursday on TBS.

“Set your DVR,” Maye wrote on Facebook. “Also, teach your mom how to set her DVR.”

Fun Fun Fun Fest announces comedy lineup

Tig Notaro is slated to perform at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015.
Tig Notaro is slated to perform at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2015.

The producers of the annual Fun Fun Fun Fest have announced the acts performing on the Yellow stage.

Tig Notaro, Doug Benson, Eric Andre, Todd Barry, Eugene Mirman, Sabrina Jalees, Jonah Ray and Kurt Braunohler are some of the big name comics performing in the stage, which is sponsored by JASH, the digital comedy collective spearheaded by Sarah Silverman and others.

In addition, popular events including the Air Sex Championship, Altercation Punk Comedy tour, The New Movement, Live Wrestling (ACW and Inspire Pro), and the infamous FFF Taco Cannon will take place on the stage.

Here are the day-by-day lineups for the Yellow stage. Because the fest organizers love a good joke, they’ve placed these performers in this list from last-performing-to-first, and also put several music acts on the Yellow stage each night (musical acts are indicated with an asterisk — please do not laugh during their performances or repeat their lyrics the next day as punchlines).

Todd Barry
Todd Barry


King Khan & BBQ Show*, Benjamin Booker*, Tops*, Tig Notaro, Kurt Braunohler, Eugene Mirman, Derrick C. Brown (poet), Bad Example, Altercation Punk Comedy Tour, Greetings from Queer Mountain


Murder By Death*, Cass McCombs*, East Cameron Folkcore*, Doug Benson, Jonah Ray, Sabrina Jalees, GZA (the science of hip hop)*, Dr. Scott Bolton (NASA Scientist and founder of Artistic Sciences), Sandbox with Rob Gagnon, The Secret Group (Houston Comics), Master Pancake’s Saturday Morning Cartoons


BADBADNOTGOOD*, Andrew Jackson Jihad*, Steve Gunn*, Andrew W.K. (motivational speaking), Twerking Lessons with Big Freedia, Todd Barry, Eric Andre, Lil Freckles, Air Sex Championships, ATX Comedy Hour, The New Movement

Single-day and weekend passes are now on sale and available online. Single-day tickets are available for $89 while three-day passes are $199. The big-deal Ultimate Smooth Pass (USP) is available for $450.

Passes and further information are available on the festival website.

‘Master Class’ marathon coming to Alamo Drafthouse

The cast of the Austin-based web series, "Master Class."
The cast of the Austin-based web series, “Master Class.”

Remember when I told y’all about Master Class?

Well, the folks behind this slick and funny Austin web series are having a marathon screening of the comedy’s first season at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar at 6:30 Monday, Aug. 3. Since each of the 10 episodes are short, the entire event should be wrapped up in about two hours.

Wait a minute — did that say first season? Hopefully, this means there will be more coming down the pike.

The cast and crew are supposed to be there, so it’s a perfect opportunity to thank them for all of the hard work and laughs.

Seeing “Master Class” on the big screen is just too good of an opportunity to miss. Check out the series trailer, below, then click to get your $10 tickets here.

Austin comics Ashley Barnhill and Abby Rosenquist represent at New Faces in Montreal

Big congrats to Ashley Barnhill and Abby Rosenquist, Austin comics who are performing this week in the New Faces showcases at Montreal’s Just For Laughs.

Ashley Barnhill
Ashley Barnhill

Big congrats to Ashley Barnhill and Abby Rosenquist, who are performing this week in the New Faces showcases at Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival. Both stand-ups are current or former Austin performers.

The festival website claims superstars are born at the showcases, and while it’s debatable if that is still true — the development deal market for up-and-coming comics isn’t what it used to be — an appearance at the event is still a huge feather in the cap of any aspiring comic performer.

Barnhill, who studied law at the University of Texas at Austin, is a skilled joke-crafter who made a name for herself on Twitter. A Moontower Comedy festival veteran now living in Los Angeles, she works with the likes of Marc Maron and Dave Chappelle, and is slated to appear during the Austin stop of Funny or Die’s annual Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival on Oct. 17.

Abby Rosenquist
Abby Rosenquist

Rosenquist, who came to Austin via Omaha, Nebraska, is an Out of Bounds and Moontower veteran who made a splash at this year’s Funniest Person in Austin contest and can be seen at local haunts including The Velv.

Of course, both comics have worked out material on Austin’s Cap City Comedy Club stage.

Best of luck to Barnhill and Rosenquist in Montreal.