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Your guide to Austin comedy events in August

Dale Roe, Go-To Guy

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Stop me if you've heard this one.

A musician, a foodie, a filmmaker and a techie walk into a bar ... meanwhile, a bunch of jokesters raise it. True story — Austin's comedy culture is coming on strong, rivaling the traditional scenes that make our city such a cool place to live.

So, we thought it was about time to give comics their due with a monthly events preview.

And — zing! — like a punch line gone horribly wrong, August turns out to be a lean month for comedy. Still, a reliably ridiculous annual festival is joined by a crew of creative road comics, a couple of "Last Comic Standing" veterans, a comedy album recording and Paula Poundstone.

Here are the highlights:

Ralphie May

Aug. 25, Paramount Theatre

A second-place winner on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," May returns to the Paramount stage, where he taped his 2008 Comedy Central special, "Austin-tatious." This time he's touring in support of his DVD and Comedy Central Special "Too Big to Ignore."

How far will May go for a punch line? He named his daughter April June and his son August. Potentially destroying his children's lives may predispose parents everywhere to dislike him, but you've got to admire his commitment to a joke. 8 p.m. 713 Congress Ave. $37.50. 474-1221, www.austintheatre.org .

Paula Poundstone,

Aug. 31, One World Theatre

Comic, author, Emmy winner and cat-lover Paula Poundstone is perhaps best known for her frequent appearances as a panelist on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," National Public Radio's weekly current events quiz show. I always feel bad for the other panelists when Poundstone appears because, as a fan favorite, she never fails to elicit raucous applause and cheering hootery that is, frankly, unbecoming of an NPR audience.

A quick wit and expert improviser, Poundstone frequently interacts with audience members, targeting and drawing laugh lines from them so deftly that it's hard to believe the banter isn't scripted.

If she singles you out at the One World, ask her when she's going to retire the suspenders. 7 and 9:30 p.m. 7701 Bee Cave Road. $50-$65. 330-9500, www.oneworldtheatre.org .

Out of Bounds Comedy Festival

Aug. 28-Sept. 3

Each Labor Day weekend for the past decade, a rotating who's-who of Austin comics — including Jeremy Lamb, Mike D'Alonzo, Shannon McCormick, Dave Buckman, Roy Janik and Kareem Badr — have welcomed comics from Texas and beyond to perform on Austin's stages.

What started out as a smallish improv gathering with a dash of sketch comedy at the Hideout has become a weeklong celebration of (and ersatz classroom for) improv, sketch and stand-up at venues throughout the city.

This year, the Mohawk, Scottish Rite Theater, Velveeta Room, Institution Theater, New Movement and Coldtowne Theater join the upstairs and downstairs Hideout stages. Comics from such far-flung and exotic places as Chicago, New York, Toronto and Grand Rapids, Mich., aim to elicit laughs along with their Austin counterparts.

Sketch and improv groups traditionally have great non sequiturs of names. My favorites from this year's roster are Umlautilde (Phoenix), Third Curd (Denver) and Austin's own Magician vs. Clown.

Along with a bunch of "Star Trek"-themed shows (improvisers, like science fiction fans, are notorious geeks), the Monks Night Out Reunion at 10:30 p.m. Aug. 31 on the Hideout's downstairs stage should be an improv highlight. The group is the stuff of Austin comedy legend, spawning generations of troupes, venues and industry professionals from its humble days killing time between stand-up sets at the Velveeta Room. www.outof boundscomedy.com

Punk Mockers

Aug. 11, New Movement Theater

JT Habersaat and his unruly friends from the Altercation Punk Comedy Tour record a new album, "Hostile Corporate Takeover," for Stand Up! Records and you can watch/listen/laugh. In addition to Habersaat, the lineup includes Mack Lindsay (Vans Warped Tourveteran), Mike Wiebe (vocalist for Riverboat Gamblers), Joe Staats (Fun Fun Fun Fest veteran) and hardcore vocalist Billy Milano (MOD). Tickets are first-come, first-served at the door. 10:30 p.m. 616 Lavaca St. $10. 788-2669, www.newmovement theater.com/austin .

Cap City Comedy Club

Aug. 1-4: Tommy Johnagin. Another second-place finisher on "Last Comic Standing," Johnagin is a veteran of the festival circuit and familiar from his appearances on Comedy Central and "The Late Show." Ramin Nazer, 2012 Funniest Person in Austin, opens.

Aug. 8-11: Tom Simmons. The frequent XM/Sirius satellite radio and "Bob and Tom" radio show contributor took top honors from the 2009 San Francisco International Stand-Up Comedy Competition.

Aug. 15-18: Deon Cole. The writer and Conan O'Brien pal (he performed with O'Brien here on the "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour") has been spotted on NBC, HBO, BET, BBC and Starz. Are those enough capital letters to get you out to see him? Austin's Kath Barbadoro guests.

Aug. 22-25: Godfrey. He's got one name, like Madonna; he's gotta be good, right? You might have seen him recently on a little FX show called "Louie." David McQuary and the American-Statesman's Brian Gaar also appear.

Aug. 29-Sept 1: Jackie Kashian. Bob Khosravi and Michael Priest join Kashian, star of her own Comedy Central special, on the Cap City stage.

Shows are at 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesday and Thursday shows are $9. Friday and Saturday shows are $15. Special event ticket prices vary.

And don't forget "Punch," the stellar stand-up show curated by former FPIA winner Matt Bearden (KLBJ, "Austin Stories"). The $5 Tuesday shows regularly sell out (and they're going on hiatus Aug. 28), so get your tickets early.

8120 Research Blvd., No. 100. 467-2333, www.capcity comedy.com .

Contact Dale Roe at 912-5923 Twitter: @djroe