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Moontower Comedy picks: Must-read recommendations for must-see acts

Staff Writer
Austin 360

By Omar L. Gallaga and Dale Roe

Editor’s note: This article was originally published April 18, 2014

Four days, nine venues and more than 100 comedians — that’s a lot of funny to sift through. Not sure who to see? Here are some recommendations:

Kids in the Hall

One of the world’s most recognizable sketch comedy ensembles (they’ve gotta’ be right up there with Monty Python, right?), the kids haven’t performed much together live since their 2008 tour brought them through Austin. They wrote a new show last fall and premiered it in their home country of Canada; you’ll see some of that material — along with classic bits — during Moontower.

Catch them: 9:30 p.m. April 25 and 7 p.m. April 26 at the Paramount Theatre.

Dana Gould and Arden Myrin

It’s an Upton-Webber reunion! Real comedy fans won’t pass up the chance to see this talented pair of stand-ups, writers and actors who appeared on “The Wonder Years” star Fred Savage’s weird, late, lamented sitcom, “Working.” If only they’d brought co-star Steve Hytner (“Seinfeld’s” Kenny Bania) with them. Still, their sets promise to be “Gold, Jerry! Gold!”

Catch them: 10 p.m. April 25 at Stateside at the Paramount.

Puddles Pity Party

You’re bound to see this lumbering, slightly menacing, solid white hulk of a mute circus clown, darn near the only actual oddity in the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival (unless you count bringing right-winger Dennis Miller to hippie-dippy Austin) wandering through downtown. He’ll be holding a lantern with his monkey-girl companion at his side. Follow him into a venue and hope that you’ll get to hear his beautiful voice belt out a lonely, mournful tune while he tosses tissues into the crowd.

Catch him: Your guess is as good as ours. He goes where his lantern leads him.

Michael Che

We all seem to have missed Che when he opened for Anthony Jeselnik at last year’s Moontower, but we heard a ton of buzz (more than one festgoer told us that the cheery Che eclipsed the far more seasoned, foul-mouthed headliner). We’re determined to see him this year, and we recommend that you do, too.

Catch him: Headlining Thursday-April 26 at Cap City Comedy Club.

— Dale Roe

James Adomian

One of our favorite comics who’s been at South by Southwest Comedy the past two years, this chameleon is a frequent contributor to the “Comedy Bang Bang” podcast as characters including Jesse “The Mind” Ventura and Paul Giamatti. His spot-on impression of Marc Maron in an IFC video send-up, “Maron In Space,” was funnier than anything on “Maron” itself. The Upright Citizens Brigade vet is unpredictable and incredibly fast on his feet.

Catch him: 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Parish; 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the Hideout; 10 p.m. Thursday at the Parish Underground; 9:45 p.m. April 25 at the Hideout; 11:55 p.m. April 25 at the Paramount; 9:15 p.m. April 26 at the Parish; 10 p.m. April 26 at the Parish Underground.

Maria Bamford

We beat this drum every time she comes to town, but if you only know Bamford from her hilarious turn as a crazed Target holiday shopper in commercials, you’re missing an emotionally complex comic who plays just on the edge of darkness and light. Her jokes about mental illness are harrowing, but she’s just as skilled at impressions and wacky bits.

Catch her: 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Paramount.

Godfrey

A huge standout at last year’s festival, Godfrey is a blast of pure energy and fury, whether he’s urging his audience to toughen up in an increasingly soft world or railing against our lamest insecurities. An incredible talent. Don’t miss this guy.

Catch him: 9:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Parish; 10:45 p.m. Thursday and April 25 at NY, NY; 10:30 p.m. April 26 at Speakeasy.

— Omar L. Gallaga