Author Archives: Julie Seabaugh

Ian Abramson’s 7 Tips for 7 Minutes in Purgatory

Named Chicago Magazine‘s 2014 Best Experimental Comedian and L.A. Weekly‘s Best Up-and-Coming Comedian of 2015, conceptual absurdist Ian Abramson has worked with The Onion, Funny or Die, Seeso, Hulu, The History Channel and ABC.

His Comedy Central web series 7 Minutes in Purgatory asks comics to perform alone in one room as audiences react to video feed in another location. Before 7 Minutes returns to Moontower this April, Abramson offers comedians — and audience members — advice on getting the most out of the experience.

Go in with a plan. “You can be high-concept, character-based or do whatever elaborate thing you’d like. The plan can also be to go in and riff. The plan I would not suggest is only sticking with your material. Do jokes, but don’t just do your jokes. You’ll probably start to feel like you’re bombing.  As a comedian, if you’re bombing sometimes the instinct is to power through, keep doing the jokes, and don’t let them break you. You want to resist that, because your face is blown up and they’re literally seeing you sweat. I would suggest going the other way.” Continue reading

Recordings Run Friday at Moontower

bonfireSiriusXM podcasts framed Friday evening at the fifth annual Moontower Comedy Festival. Beginning at 4 p.m., Jay Oakerson and Dan Soder’s The Bonfire welcomed Joe DeRosa and Andy Kindler to 800 Congress, while nearly eight hours later the Velv Comedy Lounge concluded the Foxxhole taping of live sets from Jak Knight, Lashonda Lester, Raul Sanchez and Tony Rock. Between, podcast fans could also catch the Sklar Brothers’ Sklarboro Country and Austin comedy alum Brendon Walsh and Randy Liedtke’s The Bone Zone with guests Johnny Pemberton and hometown Baskets breakout Martha Kelly.

IMG_2200Throughout, headliner David Cross recorded both early and late Paramount Theatre sets of what will ultimately become his new Make America Great Again special. Next door at the Stateside, the U.K.’s Jimmy Carr continued his first U.S. tour, Funny Business, in Austin. At midnight writer-director Kevin Smith noted that is was his thirtieth visit to the city, one he always viewed as a “film mecca” thanks to his fascination with Richard Linklater.

IMG_2189Continuing the theme of flipping the stand-up format, Jeremiah Watkins hosted the no-prep Stand-Up on the Spot with Sean Donnelly, Ari Shaffir, Jenny Zigrino, Chris Cubas and more at the Velv Comedy Lounge. A huge, rowdy crowd at Josh Adam Meyers’s Goddamn Comedy Jam revealed the inner rockstars of Matteo Lane (who unleashed a Whitney Houston medley), DeRosa (both At the Drive-In and Queen), Garofalo (The Monkees) and Brad Williams (Kid Rock). Meyers, the live backing band and all performers joined as a Supergroup for the finale, a venue-wide singalong of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

Short, Garofalo and Bamford Fill Thursday’s Moontower Theaters

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IMG_2087Martin Short and Janeane Garofalo respectively headlined the Paramount and Stateside Theatres Thursday at the fifth annual Moontower Comedy Festival, kicking off an evening highlighting Ron Funches at Cap City, James Adomian at the packed Townsend and Ari Shaffir’s This Is Not Happening storytelling show at the Parish.

IMG_2132Maria Bamford, a Moontower veteran several times over, took the late shift at the Paramount with guests Jackie Kashian and Erin Foley, breaking out a significant amount of new material and teasing the plot of upcoming Netflix series Lady Dynamite with tales of her past institutionalization and career/interpersonal comebacks.

Stashbox followed Shaffir at the Parish with THC-centric material from Allen Strickland Williams, Jak Knight, Chris Cubas and Jenny Zigrino, while a block down at Antone’s, Josh Adam Meyers let Jay Oakerson, Fahim Anwar and the Sklar Brothers unleash their inner rockstars at the Goddamn Comedy Jam.

IMG_2125And though Ian Abramson’s high-concept 7 Minutes in Purgatory — comics performing via video feed in a separate room from the audience — suffered a technical-difficulty delay up top, the capacity Townsend welcomed solitary late-night sets from Phoebe Robinson, Langston Kerman, Jon Rudnitsky and triumphant closer Andy Kindler…for whom an audience is often a self-proclaimed (and tongue-in-cheek) nuisance anyway.

 

Ari, Kurt, Anthony and Anjelah Kick Off Moontower 2016

ThIMG_2084e Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival began its fifth incarnation Wednesday evening, beating the predicted rain and ushering in a weekend welcoming headliners including Martin Short, Maria Bamford, Kevin Smith, Janeane Garofalo and Saturday Night Live‘s Leslie Jones and Colin Jost.

Cap City, recently cited as one of the 15 Best Comedy Clubs in America, celebrated the “holidays” with Ari and Kurt Do 4/20, New York scene staples Ari Shaffir and Kurt Metzger’s cannabis-centric stand-up and storytelling showcase welcoming Austin-bred talent Raul Sanchez, Abby Rosenquist, Chris Cubas and Nick Mullen.

IMG_2085Back at the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin host hotel, construction across the street didn’t deter Badgeholders from enjoying Happy Hour socializing on the second-floor patio bar before heading around the corner to Anthony Atamanuik’s Dump Trump at the Stateside Theater and Anjelah Johnson’s sold-out Bon Qui Qui’s Gold Plated Dreams Tour stop at the 1200-capacity Paramount.

Along with Short, Bamford and Garofalo, tonight’s lineup includes Ron Funches, James Adomian, Shaffir’s This Is Not Happening, Ian Abramson’s 7 Minutes in Purgatory and Josh Adam Meyers’s Goddamn Comedy Jam.

Moontower Class of 2016: Sean Donnelly

sean_donnelly_headshot_800x600Letterman, Conan, Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central Half Hour vet Sean Donnelly combines self-effacing narrative with infectious, Everydude optimism. In addition to performing at top clubs across New York City and festivals across the world — including his upcoming debut appearance at the 2016 Moontower Comedy Festival — Donnelly just scored a Comedy Central script deal for a series based on his experiences as an Upper East Side underdog.

 

I do a podcast with Dan St. Germain called My Dumb Friends, which is on the All Things Comedy network. I also have a web series coming out for Comedy Central called The Sneaker Trip. I interview comics as they buy a pair of sneakers. We talk about our childhood and getting into adulthood through sneakers. The first one is with Roy Wood, Jr., and we’re editing it now. I’ve been on the road a bunch, I get up a lot at the Comedy Cellar, and things are going great!

A script deal is the earliest form of a TV deal. What happens is you go in, you pitch your idea, and they start you off with a script deal. They pay you – or in my case they pay me and another comic, Danny Solomon – to write a script for them that could potentially be turned into a pilot, and then a TV show. Continue reading

Moontower vet Joe Zimmerman hits Cap City tonight, Comedy Central’s Snapchat channel soon

joe zimmerman headshotMoontower veteran Joe Zimmerman‘s resume already boasted a Conan set, Last Comic Standing appearance and Comedy Central Half Hour special. Last week Comedy Central announced that his new Animal-Lolz series has been greenlit for its Snapchat Discover channel.

How did Animal-Lolz come about as a Snapchat series?

Comedy Central was reaching out to people, asking if they had any ideas for Snapchat. They’re doing fewer web series, and putting all their web series energy into the Snapchat channel. I guess all the data is telling them it’s the next big thing, and they’re getting a lot of traffic through their channel.

I did a Comedy Central Corporate Retreat based on nature and wildlife at UCB East. They said they liked my animal stuff, and we started talking about my doing fun Animals Facts and jokes about them. They suggested getting one of their animators [Charlie Hankin] to cut back and forth between me doing stand-up and an animation of the animal I’m talking about. Continue reading

Josh Adam Meyers talks Moontower show, new Comedy Central property Goddamn Comedy Jam

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Josh Adam Meyers knows every comedian secretly wants to be a rock star. After a false start at the CW, his L.A.-based Goddamn Comedy Jam — comics perform a set, then a song backed by a live band — was picked up yesterday by Comedy Central. Before the show makes its way to Moontower this month, Meyers recalls some of the Jam‘s highlights thus far.

Bill Burr – Bill has been the biggest supporter. A big part of the reason we’ve gotten where we are is because of him. He has fun with the costumes, even when I keep telling him, “You know you don’t have to dress up!” He’s been the drummer of Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, Motley Crüe, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC…

10906268_806713979414467_4584591271532267557_nKyle Gass – That was the third show. He just showed up and did a couple Tenacious D songs and one of his originals. And then he came back the following month as well. We’re still trying to get him and Jack, and I think one day we will. But it was still one of those moments where you think, “Okay, something’s actually happening here!” Continue reading

Dave Attell on 25 Years of Comedy Central Specials

dave attell comedy central-thumb-296x222-369914Tomorrow marks the 25th Anniversary of Comedy Central, formed April 1, 1991 via the merger of HBO’s The Comedy Channel and Viacom’s competing Ha! Along with breakout series including The Daily Show, South Park, Chappelle’s Show, Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele and Broad City, Comedy Central has ensured stand-up specials remain at the programming forefront. Former Insomniac host Dave Attell, whose Comedy Central Presents, album Skanks for the Memories and hour Road Work special are among the network’s 25-year highlights, explains why specials are so important for both developing and longtime comics.

Up until that point it was really just doing a TV spot on a late-night talk show, Letterman or Leno. Comedy Central Presents was another thing. That was the first long-form, 23-ish minute option. It was definitely a cooler vibe in terms of pressure. There weren’t the same standards as the networks.

Then they started giving out the hour specials. Up until that point, HBO was what everyone was pulling for, and really no one else was in the business of the hour special. So that was cool, because a lot of us don’t rate an HBO special. That’s a very select group of specials. Continue reading

Moontower Class of 2016: Jesse Joyce

Jesse_Joyce_800-320x320-1455229229Jesse Joyce frequently toured with the late Greg Giraldo, who brought Joyce aboard the Comedy Central Roast franchise as an annual writer. Now also a @midnight staffer, the Tonight Show vet and Last Comic Standing semifinalist performs multiple nights across the 2016 Moontower Comedy Festival.

I’ve done ten Comedy Central Roasts, TBS, a couple on ESPN, a few Friars Club ones now. Flavor Flav was my first one.

It’s not like it pays my mortgage or anything, but it’s a fun thing to do.

I tweet out the unused jokes every year afterwards, and HuffPo and a couple others always pick it up as “Hey, here are some jokes Jesse wrote that didn’t get in!”

And a lot of them are reusable. You write a good Artie Lange joke and it doesn’t get used, you just keep it in the folder of, like, “Fat Drug Addicts.” And there will always be another one that the joke will kind of work for. Continue reading

Moontower Class of 2016: Annie Lederman

C9B7E7FF-9606-5D3E-9CD2C39B698CA4FFA castmember of MTV’s hit Girl Code, dryly disarming Annie Lederman has appeared on Chelsea Lately, @midnight and even voiced hippie radio producer Cheryl in Grand Theft Auto V. Though she’s toured with Moontower vets Marc Maron and Jim Norton, next month marks her inaugural trip to Austin.

Girl Code I auditioned for the first season. The audition was weird. When you do talking-head shows, they’ll ask you a question like, “What was your first period like?” Then you have to go, “My first period was like a crimson-wave tsunami!” or whatever. Then they animate blood pouring out of a shark’s mouth or something. I didn’t know that, so I was just “Oh, I dunno. It was a rough time for me.”

I bombed it and didn’t get it, and just thought, “Oh well. Who cares?” Then it blew up and I was like “[Gloomily] I didn’t get Girl Code,” all jealous and miserable. Then in season three, they just gave it to me. Continue reading

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