Brian Gaar Readies his First Standup Special

Brian Gaar

Brian Gaar is huge on Twitter. He’s an accomplished standup who has been entertaining Austin audiences for several years but it was his tweets that introduced him to a larger audience. A much larger audience. At the time of this writing, he has over 70,000 fans on the social networking site, an impressive celebrity following – he’s a favorite of comedy big shots like Will Arnett and SNL head writer Alex Baze – and he’s just getting started.

When he released his album Never Gonna Be Famous earlier this year, it quickly rose to #2 on the iTunes charts where it sat alongside albums from heavyweights like Jim Gaffigan. He’s taping his first standup special on Saturday night at the Spiderhouse Ballroom and tickets are on sale now.

I chatted with Gaar about his early video game experiences, meeting fans at the urinal, and what we could expect from his first special.

 

You’re known for being a bit of a video game head. Tell us about your first (or an early) gaming experience.

My best memory was a Christmas in the mid-80s when my parents bought me the Nintendo Entertainment System. I played all night and for the next year, my sisters and I fought over who’d get to play Super Mario Bros. One time, I was playing in a squatted position and my sister ran up and kicked me in the balls. Our mother told her, “Because of YOU, Brian won’t be able to have children, now!!” Sadly, she was wrong.

You have a pretty rabid Twitter following. What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve had with a fan?

I wouldn’t say anything has been particularly weird, but you do meet people in random places.

One time I was at a bar, in line for the bathroom. A guy in front of me finished at the urinal, turned around and goes “DUDE! I love your Twitter!” And he wanted to shake hands. He was cool, though, he came over to our table and bought me shots.

I’ve also met people at the grocery store with a baby strapped to me and in line at the LEGO store. Everyone has honestly been really nice — a few people show up to my shows wearing Toad t-shirts, but I always have security throw them out.

How has your comedy changed over the past few years and what can folks expect from Saturday’s show?

I’ve tried to write more political stuff. When I started, it was all video game and fart jokes, but now I write more high-brow stuff like, “How about that Obama? What’s his deal?” And “Congress?? More like CLOWN-gress!!” This stuff murders on NPR.

Saturday’s show will be a combination of greatest hits and some killer new stuff that I’m working on. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy” is gonna get “cut down” to size. (I do an impression of Groot screaming “I am Groot!!” in a high-pitched voice because he caught his balls in a chainsaw.)

Gaar Spiderhouse

The Best of John Hodgman on The Daily Show

DailyShowHodgmanAuthor.  Tweeter.  Funnyman.  These are the names of my three children. They are also words that could be used to describe John Hodgman who is set to perform at the Paramount Theatre on September 12th. 

In 2005, Hodgman debuted a character known as “The Deranged Millionaire” for a They Might Be Giants video. The character was such a success for Hodgman that he brought it The Daily Show for a series of celebrated segments partially collected here. I’m also including Hodgman’s first appearance on the show to promote his book “The Areas of My Expertise” which announced the comedian to a wider audience. Enjoy.

 

The Areas of My Expertise – 11/16/05
John Hodgman’s areas of expertise include matters historical, matters cryptozological, hobo matters, and drink, food, wine and cheese — which is a kind of food.

 

Borders Goes Out of Business – 08/16/11
John Hodgman suggests that bookstores replace their old-fashioned bookshelves with beautiful, well-appointed downloading pods.

 

An Elegant Message to the 47% – 09/18/12
In this exclusive, resident deranged millionaire John Hodgman elegantly restates Mitt Romney’s position regarding 47% of Americans.

 

Merge Overkill – 02/27/13
John Hodgman merges with the English language and examines the modern economic strategy that rewards corporate irresponsibility.

 

Patenting Human Genes – 06/19/13
John Hodgman analyzes the financial repercussions of the Supreme Court’s decision on human gene patenting.

 

Bezos and Masthead – 08/14/13
Deranged millionaire John Hodgman announces the acquisition of his own D.C. newspaper, The Washington Postier Coupon Clipper Penny Saver.

 

Taking the LA Clippers for a Spin – 05/08/14
Deranged millionaire John Hodgman explains why he wants to acquire the Los Angeles Clippers.

For more on John Hodgman, check out his website. Tickets for his September 12th show at the Paramount are available here.

The Best of John Hodgman on Twitter

TweetsofHodgman
Did you know that John Hodgman is coming to the Paramount this September? Well he is! On September 12th! That’s a Friday! Perhaps best known for his many Daily Show appearances, he’s also a celebrated author, a New York Times Magazine columnist, and a podcaster. SO HOW COME NOBODY EVER TALKS ABOUT HIS TWITTER?! Oh, they do? All the time? Okay well that makes sense. It kind of messes up what I was going to say though. Let me rethink this. In the meantime, here is a brief introduction to the hilarious world of Mr. Hodgman’s Twitter, and by that I mean, here is a list of tweets.

Stay tuned next week for more of The Best of John Hodgman where we’ll look at his work on The Daily Show!

The Best Tweets this Week from the Moontower Class of 2014

TweetsofWeekMoontower

TGIFBTMITFAEOTBTTWFTMCOT!

For the uninitiated, that stands for Thank God It’s Friday Because That Means It’s Time For Another Edition Of The Best Tweets This Week From The Moontower Class Of 2014!

And it is! It’s time RIGHT NOW!

2014: The Year of the Hustak

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It’s been a pretty good year for Austin comedian Cody Hustak. A few weeks after his Moontower shows, he was crowned the Funniest Person in Austin. Then, shortly after that, he was one of a handful of comics accepted into the prestigious Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. Hustak was part of the New Faces: Unrepped section and performed at the fest last weekend. I spoke with Cody about his “fairy tale week” shortly after he touched down in Austin. Special thanks to Charlie Sotelo for the above photo!

 

Congrats on Just for Laughs! How did you find out you were accepted to the festival?

Weeks had passed since the FPIA’s conclusion and I had figured I wasn’t getting the invite. Then one night I got a call from an unknown number that didn’t resemble that of my bill collectors. I was so close to saying “Oh you‘re good, Sallie Mae” and making the mistake of not picking up. Luckily it was Colleen Mcgarr and Jeff Singer with incredible news that I had to keep from my friends and family for what seemed like an eternity.

How were the shows?

Perfect. Everything there is so flawlessly well put together. The staff was fantastic and the audiences enthusiastically filled the seats. I was thrilled when I found out I was getting additional shows.

What was your favorite part of the fest?

Having what I thought was to be my last set of the week go well and then being offered a spot on The Alt Show a mere hour later. A great venue filled to capacity, sharing the stage with the brilliance of Andy Kindler, Marc Maron, Ron Funches, and Jon Dore. An absolute fairy tale week.

Any after hours highlights?

After hours was a bit of a blur thanks to alcohol and representation’s willingness to buy me alcohol. The week was unreal on so many levels. I was frantically selling things the day before I left and I was sure it was going to be a week of fast food and warm beers in the hotel room. After that first set I was wined and dined pretty hard over the last three days in Montreal. It was a dream that ended far too abruptly. Now it’s back to my day job and back to exclusively consuming canned food and drinks. Easily one of the most memorable weeks of my life.

What’s coming up for you next?

I’m excited to be headlining The Velv Aug 22-23. I need to visit NY and LA for the first time ever to get a feel for where I’d like to move after I hand my crown off next spring. Trying to keep my mouth shut about opportunities in the works. These are exciting times.

Lineup

Tim and Eric and Dr. Steve Brule and you!

Tim and Eric

Calling all chippies! Tim and Eric are bringing their live show to the Paramount Theatre on September 17th and this time they’re bringing along Dr. Steve Brule!

Dr. Brule, played by John C. Reilly, is one of the duo’s more memorable characters from Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and spawned a spin off, Check it Out with Dr. Steve Brule.

Tickets go on sale today at 10am so get your seats while you can.

In the meantime, take a look at Tim Heidecker’s new show Decker which premiered yesterday.

For your health!

Steve Brule

The Most Patriotic Sketches Ever Written

It’s that time of the year: The Fourth of July! Dogs love it because of the loud fireworks but we love it because it gives us a chance to revisit some of our favorite sketches about America! Take time out from your summer barbecue to take a look back at the most patriotic sketches in the history of patriotic sketches. USA! USA! USA!

Kids in the Hall star Bruce McCulloch tells us what America means to him.

David Cross draws the borders of the new America in ‘Operation Hell on Earth’ from Season 2 of Mr. Show.

And finally, nothing says Fourth of July like Will Ferrell in an American flag thong.*

*The only link I could find has Russian subtitles which seems appropriate somehow.

The Best Tweets This Week from the Moontower Class of 2014

TweeterMoontower may be over and the comics may have gone home, but that doesn’t mean the jokes are over BECAUSE THE COMICS WHO PERFORMED AT MOONTOWER ARE ON TWITTER WHERE THEY ARE POSTING OTHER JOKES! See what I did there? Anyway, I have meticulously selected the very best tweets based on my patented system (finding tweets that make me laugh). Without any further ado, here are the crème de la crème de la crème of this weeks tweets. Enjoy!

Want more crème? Check out more from the Moontower class here!

Dennis Miller and Seth Meyers Talk Weekend Update

dennis millerEarlier this week, Dennis Miller stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers where the two talked about their time on Saturday Night Live and hosting the fake news. Vulture recently placed Miller at the top of the list of Update anchors and Seth wants to know his secret. Watch the segment below and then revisit Inside Joke’s interviews with the two titans after their respective headlining sets at Moontower!

Dennis Miller on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Backstage with Dennis Miller at Moontower earlier this year.

Seth Meyers chats with Kerri Lendo at the 2012 fest.

Cody Hustak is the Funniest Person in Austin!

Cody HustakThis past Monday night, after seemingly endless weeks of competition, Cody Hustak bested over 200 entrants to become 2014’s Funniest Person in Austin. His roommate and fellow Nebraska transplant Ryan Cownie took second place while Lashonda Lester placed third.

For the uninitiated, Cody is one of the most unique voices in the Austin scene, a comic who relishes awkward pauses and defies audience expectations. His onstage persona is frequently antisocial and a bit alien: a sense of danger and unease can build as he approaches his punchlines with a deliberate pacing. Inevitably the conclusion is so delightfully absurd and unexpected that it overshadows whatever dark premise had us worried in the first place.

It was Cody’s fifth year in the contest and it was a hard fought and deeply deserved win. He had the audience doubled over throughout much of his set which was especially strong this year. When he took the stage to receive his prize he was humble and gracious. This is the real Cody Hustak. He’s pretty cool too.

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Check out Hustak’s 2013 FPIA set below and listen to him on the most recent episode of Mac Blake and David Jara’s The Mascot Wedding Show. Cody performs frequently around town. For dates and more information visit codyhustak.com.