Your missions to Moontower, should you choose to accept them ...
Check these picks for which funny people to see at Austin's comedy fest
Shoot for the Moontower, and you'll land among the stars. And there are a lot of stars. We made some picks for which funny people to catch at the Austin comedy festival happening April 24-27 at the Paramount Theatre and other venues around town. Note: Times listed are when a showcase or full lineup starts, not when an individual comedian takes the stage.
Schitt's Creek: Up Close & Personal. Every generation has one. No, not a vampire slayer. A warm-hearted, laugh-out-loud funny TV comedy that you can't stop telling your friends to watch (and to stick it out because the first season is a little quiet). It used to be "Parks and Recreation"; now it's the CBC/Pop TV series "Schitt's Creek," about the zany antics of a formerly rich family navigating life in the titular small town, which they once bought as a joke. Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy, Noah Reid, Emily Hampshire and eternal goddess/queen of all she surveys Catherine O'Hara will hold court at the Paramount for an insider's look at the series some (me) are calling "the thing I watch when I want to laugh but then also dab my eyes with Kleenex." (7 and 9:30 p.m. April 27 at Paramount)
Nick Offerman. Speaking of "Parks and Recreation" ... Offerman, the erstwhile Ron Swanson from that NBC comedy has branched out into a pretty interesting film and comedy career. He anchored the incredibly sweet music comedy "Hearts Beat Loud" in 2018 and wrote multiple New York Times bestsellers playing on his red-blooded American man image, in addition to character actor turns in too many movies to mention. Expect grizzliness, but also cuddliness. Also, he owns a wood shop! (7 and 9:30 p.m. April 24, Paramount)
Enzo Priesnitz. This local comic won the Funniest Person in Austin contest in 2017. And gotta say, truth in advertising! He also one time at Cap City Comedy Club asked me a question about my "girlfriend" from the stage (I was in the front row), and I had to tell him I was gay, and he handled it very well! (8 p.m. April 25 at Cap City Comedy Club; 10:15 p.m. April 26 at Fallout Theater; 6 p.m. April 27 at the Velv Comedy Lounge)
Matt Rogers. Oh, I do think so, honey. One half of the podcast Las Culturistas along with Bowen Yang, also one of our picks, Rogers is a rising star in the New York City comedy scene. (He won't make it to Moontower for the podcast taping on April 26, according to the fest; comedian Joel Kim Booster will fill in with Yang.) If you like your punchlines with a side of Broadway belting, he's for you. He also writes "RuPaul's Drag Race" recaps for Vulture, which I cannot recommend highly enough. (8 p.m. April 27 at Palm Door on Sixth)
Amanda Seales. The self-styled "Jedi Khaleesi with a patronus that’s a Black Panther with wings" is having a real moment. She has a comedy special for HBO, "I Be Knowin'," and is also a regular on the channel's "Insecure." She's tackling race, cat-calling and oh so much more. (7 and 11:30 p.m. April 27 at Stateside)
Jenny Slate. The "Parks and Recreation" ("Money, please!") and "Kroll Show" scene stealer is one of the greats when it comes to a funny personal story (and a funny voice to match). Google any of her late-night talk show appearances for proof. Slate's headliner slot is a can't-miss. (9:30 p.m. April 26, Paramount)
Vir Das. An Indian actor, comedian and musician, Das began as a stand-up, performing mostly observational stuff about relationships and Indian culture, before becoming a Hindi cinema sensation. He started to break out in America with his 2017 Netflix special, "Abroad Understanding." He also plays Jai on action comedy "Whiskey Cavalier." (7 and 9:30 p.m. April 24 at Stateside Theatre)
Chris Redd. One of the best additions "Saturday Night Live" has made in a good, long time, Chris Redd is just one of those guys you are always happy to see in a sketch, whether he is playing Kanye West, Sterling K. Brown or Louis Farrakhan. Check out his new album, "But Here We Are," on CC Records. (Redd headlines a show that starts at 9:30 pm. at the Parish April 26 with Eliza Skinner, Mike Vecchione and Bryson Brown. Opening for David Spade 7 p.m. April 25 at Paramount; 7:30 p.m. April 25 at Antone's Nightclub; 8 p.m. April 25 at the Parish; 8 p.m. April 26 at the Velv Comedy Lounge; 9:30 p.m. April 26 at the Parish as headliner; 11:30 p.m. April 26 at Stateside Theatre; 6 p.m. April 27 at Speakeasy; 9:30 p.m. April 27 at 800 Congress; 10 p.m. April 27 at Palm Door on Sixth)
Nicole Byer. What a treat, what a dream. Nicole Byer truly is one of the funniest people working right now — and she works a lot; her credits are too many to list. If you only know her as host of "Nailed It," well, that's some G-rated fun, but you need to check out her stand up, which is way more for adults, and her podcast, "Why Won't You Date Me?" (10:15 p.m. April 25 at Palm Door on Sixth; 11:30 p.m. April 25 at Stateside Theatre; 8 p.m. April 26 at Palm Door on Sixth; 7:30 p.m. April 27 at 800 Congress; 10 p.m. April 27 at Palm Door on Sixth)
Jon Glaser. We come back again to "Parks and Recreation," which gave us Glaser's politician we loved to hate ("You've been Jammed!"), and then we say a quick and sad "hi" to Laird on "Girls." Glaser is everywhere, making appearances on "Inside Amy Schumer" and various late-night shows, creating his own TV shows, voicing characters ("Bob's Burgers" and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," to name just two), and writing and directing (books and music videos!). (9:30 p.m. April 25 at Stateside; 8 p.m. April 26 at Speakeasy)
Taylor Tomlinson. Tomlinson, who you may know from her appearances on "The Tonight Show," "Conan" and Netflix’s "The Comedy Lineup," feels like your older sister telling you how it is. I don’t have an older sister, but I imagine she would let me know that, hey, your 20s aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and dating is weird. She started doing standup at 16 and will be putting in work during the festival, so make sure not to miss her. (7:30 p.m. April 25 at Antone's Nightclub; 11:30 p.m. April 25 at Stateside Theatre; 8 p.m. April 26 at the Velv Comedy Lounge; 10 p.m. April 26 at Palm Door on Sixth; 7:30 p.m. April 27 at 800 Congress; 8 p.m. April 27 at the Velv Comedy Lounge; 10 p.m. April 27 at Palm Door on Sixth)
Emma Willmann. Willmann, fresh off her run on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" playing a not-crazy girlfriend, is really, really funny. She's appeared on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and Netflix's "The Comedy Lineup." I watched her quick set on the latter and was hooked. Maybe you will be, too — she's performing seven times during Moontower. (8:15 p.m. April 25 at Palm Door on Sixth; 8:30 p.m. April 25 at Fallout Theater; 10:30 p.m. April 25 at Fallout Theater; opening for Ronny Chieng, 7 p.m. April 26 at Stateside Theatre; 9:30 p.m. April 26 at Townsend Stage; 8:30 p.m. April 27 at Fallout Theater; 9:30 p.m. April 27 at 800 Congress)
Bowen Yang. He's got the range. Yang has taken on Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly from "The Devil Wears Prada" and Sandra Oh's Christina Yang from "Grey's Anatomy" in viral lip-syncing videos. He recently stepped in as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on an episode of "Saturday Night Live," where he is a writer. You'll have six chances to see the Brooklyn-based comedian at Moontower this year, where he'll also be recording an episode of Las Culturistas, his podcast with comedian Matt Rogers. (8:15 p.m. April 25 at Palm Door on Sixth; 6 p.m. April 26 at Speakeasy; 9:45 p.m. April 26 at Antone's Nightclub; 7:30 p.m. April 27 at 800 Congress; 8 p.m. April 27 at Palm Door on Sixth; 9:30 p.m. April 27 at 800 Congress)
Nate Bargatze. Fresh off the release of his hour-long Netflix special, "The Tennessee Kid," it's hard to continue calling the clean and relatable Bartgatze an up-and-comer. He is here. (9:30 p.m. April 25 at Paramount Theatre as headliner)
Off Book. Zach Reino and Jessica McKenna bring their improvised musical podcast to the stage. You read right: It is a completely original improvised musical. (6 p.m. April 27 at Speakeasy)
IF YOU GO
What: Moontower Comedy Festival
When: April 24-27
Where and how: At a variety of Austin venues, with headliners playing the Paramount and Stateside theaters. Every other venue is called a satellite venue. The only badges left for sale are the $99 satellite badges, which allow one to attend 50-plus shows in those satellite venues, which essentially means you get access to the club shows. Tickets for the Paramount and Stateside shows must be be purchased separately. Go to austintheatre.org/moontower-comedy for more info.
Limited single tickets for satellite-venue events can be purchased, but single tickets do not guarantee entry. Single-ticket holders will be admitted after badge holders. If a satellite event reaches capacity, ticket holders will be given a refund. Tickets might be available on the day of show via mobile purchase. There will be no cash sales at the door. Satellite venues will generally open doors 30 minutes before showtime for all shows.
There is no age restriction on the festival. However, some venues are 18-and-older, due to their liquor licensing/permit, are not able to let in underage patrons regardless of the event.
The following venues are all ages:
Paramount Theatre (713 Congress Ave.)
Stateside Theatre (713 Congress Ave.)
800 Congress (800 Congress Ave.)
Antone’s (305 E. 5th St.)
Fallout Theater (616 Lavaca St.)
Palm Door at Sixth (508 E. 6th St.)
These venues are 18-and-older:
Parish (214 E. 6th St.)
Cap City Comedy Club (8120 Research Blvd., No. 100)
The Velv Comedy Lounge (521 E. 6th St.)
The North Door (501 Brushy St.)