Author Archives: Michael Graupmann

Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival 2013: The First Wave!

It’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

After a year of anticipation and pants-piddling predictions, we’re ready to share the first round of confirmed comedians coming to Austin this year in April for the triumphant return of The Moontower Comedy Festival & Oddity Festival!

Your fist-pump-worthy Paramount headliners for 2013 include:

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And it doesn’t stop there, y’all! More Industry Favorites to get your blood pumping and your hands sweaty:

And this is just the FIRST wave of amazing talent we have to announce to y’all! We have plenty more rising stars of comedy — local and national — to put up on these Austin stages solely for your enjoyment!

So… like, do you have a badge already? Beyond the individual tickets to shows, there are three levels of badges: the “VIP” (access to all venues/all shows), the “ACE” (4 headliners of your choice), and the “You Betcha I’m Somebody” (access after VIPs). These are going to sell out, so don’t get left behind.

We’ve got plenty more excitement on the way in the coming days, so stay tuned for more comedy than you can shake a grumpy cat at in the very near future…

“Later, a-holes!” says a defiant Amy Schumer.

Amy-Schumer

 

Looking Back on the Funniest of 2012

We’re in the first week of 2013, which means the world didn’t even end like everyone spent a year planning for and joking about. So I guess that means we have to start paying rent again and start making plans for the future or something.

But before we do anything productive, we’ve been gathering our favorite lists from all the folks who follow this stuff! Put it all together and enjoy all that 2012 had to offer!

The Funniest People of 2012 provided by Huffington Post. These included the most important comedians like Tig Notaro and Louis CK as well as the politicians who gave them the fodder we needed make it through the elections. Thanks, Paul Ryan!

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The 100 Funniest Tweets of 2012 (as recommended by Megan Amram, who had maybe the most important Tweet of the year):

 

And how about the 18 Images That Defined 2012, according to Funny or Die? Sure, Disapproving Michela has to be on there.

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BONUS LIST: These aren’t specific to any year, but it’s like iPhones keep getting worse at autocorrect as their technology gets fancier. Enjoy the 11 Funniest AutoCorrect Messages for 2012!

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Watching a tiny giant at the top of her game

With the blessed delivery of her brand-new online Special Special Special and her quick two-day engagement at Cap City last week, we’ve been getting just the right dosage of Maria Bamford lately: a heaping shit-ton.

I’m not sure how many times y’all have watched SSS already, but we here at Moontower just can’t get enough of it. The freshness of performing just for her parents (and all of the ripe meanings behind that!), the sheer nerve of performing some of those jokes for a two-person audience, the jokes themselves… It really is a masterpiece to behold.

bamfordCheck out what The New York Times says about the special, because it’s way smarter than anything we can say about it.

And then, right on the show’s heels, she shows up right here in our backyard! Again! Besides being even funnier in person, Bamford’s two nights at Cap City left everyone feeling, ironically, so happy. Not just not-sad, but genuinely euphoric.

It was great seeing Bamford’s real-life pals Jackie Kashian and local host Kerri Lendo in the nights’ proceedings as well, proving once more the baselessness of that maddening prejudice about women lacking the funny gene. These were, in fact, two of the best, most rewarding nights of stand-up in Austin we experienced all year.

Did you catch Bamford (and Kashian and Peretti and Foley and Rajskub) last year during the Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival’s “Ladies’ Night” She-Bang? THAT was another one of those nights to hold on to.

What I’m saying is: Big ups to the ladies again this year. And get your dang Moontower badge already…

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Moontower Festival early bird badges now available!

Hey, y’all.

Remember earlier this year when The Paramount Theatre hosted a brand new comedy festival in Austin that brought together some of the biggest names in comedy today and it was huge and awesome and amazing?

Yeah, well, The Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival is indeed happening again. On April 24-27, 2013, in fact. Hooray!

Four amazing days of even bigger and even more hilarious action. Is it even possible? You’ll probably have to get a badge and find out for yourself, eh?

This year, there are three levels of badges available for purchase at Early Bird rates:  the VIP Badge, the Fan Badge, and the brand-new Ace Badge.

Along with access to all non-single-ticketed events, the Ace also comes with guaranteed entry and prime seating at four headliner shows of your choice at the Paramount. It also gets you into something brand new this year: Midnight Shows.

Remember when Nick Offerman was at the Paramount? And Aziz Ansari? And Seth Meyers? And remember seeing Marc Maron at The Mohawk? And Maria Bamford at the ND? This is where comedy memories are made, y’all.

We’re locking down the lineup, and y’all are going to lose your minds when you see all these names! We can guarantee it’s going to be a damn hoot, y’all, and you don’t want to miss it…

Jenny Johnson vs. Chris Brown: What the…?

If y’all aren’t following comedy writer and overall badass Jenny Johnson on Twitter (@JennyJohnsonHi5), you’re missing out on one of the Twitterverse’s greatest and most prolific Tweeters. The Houston writer is willing to say what she’s thinking, and she has more than 300,000 followers who can’t get enough of her.

Unfortunately, this Thanksgiving break, Johnson got into a nasty Twitter feud with hip hop artist Chris Brown that ended with terrifying death threats from Brown’s followers and Brown eventually shutting off his Twitter account for a day.

“I mean, he DOES look pretty rough for a 23 year old…”

While it’s true that Johnson prompted the dispute when she called him a “worthless piece of $%!#,” it’s amazing that her commentary elicited a response from Brown, who one might easily assume is immune to such attacks by now.

After an ample bit of name-calling, some proposed fecophilia and a well-placed spelling lesson, Johnson called it a day. But Brown’s fans (better known as “Breezys”) continued the offensive in Brown’s place.

Luckily, Johnson collected the best (and worst spelled) Tweets for us to enjoy, and those have been retweeted more than 1,500 times. Fortunately, everyone except for Brown’s fans took Johnson’s side on the matter

It was touch and go there for a little while, but fortunately things seem to have simmered by down.

However, Brown’s reign of terror against women continues in full effect on every medium, and nobody — not even the comedians — are safe. But, like, seriously.

Breaking Dawn, Part Two: The Best Comedy of the Year

Well, we saw the movie, and we are sooooooooooooooooo glad that we did.

The final installment of the torturously drawn-out tween vamp romp, Twilight, is so incredibly worth the $10 ticket… ESPECiALLY if you’ve never seen any of the previous films or read any of the books. Trust us: you don’t need any prior explanation of what is happening on the screen to delight in it.

The delightfully incomprehensible plot, the unjustified stop-and-start pacing, the Who’s Who in World Vampires Today, the epically boring sex scenes, and THE DIALOGUE are just what the doctor ordered for making it this year’s best unintentional comedy.

Here are just a few of the moments that really captured our hearts and pushed us over the edge of ironically adoring this film. (The following are not spoilers to anyone who has ever read a thing about any of the previous movies. And reading these plot points is nothing like watching Taylor Lautner actually try to “act” them:)

1. Kristen Stewart wrestles a CGI mountain lion in the first two minutes of the film.

2. Despite both being super-fast vampires who do everything at hyper-speed and with inhuman vigor, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson “can’t stop” having the slowest, most unsexy sex ever captured on film. Each time they anticipate eroticism, Stewart reverts to her previous acting style of Unblinking Trauma Victim and all plot momentum screeches to an undead halt.

3. The result of the fateful lovers’ lovemaking is soon revealed in the form of a terribly rendered CGI baby with an even more terrible name. Why couldn’t they find a real baby to put in this movie? Were there no parents in Hollywood desperately flinging their future stars into writer/producer/genius Stephenie Meyer’s face to be the next Breaking Dawn demon spawn? Clearly, nobody (not even centuries-old vampires with dried-up wombs) would fawn over this shaky, off-color 2-D substitute.

4. The only explanation for using the expensive but unsuccessful CGI baby is because of the even-greater potential creep-out factor that an adult cast member immediately FALLS IN LOVE with the baby upon seeing it for the first time. We won’t spoil the fun and tell you who that character is, but there’s no way it’s not squeamishly gross and utterly hysterical in every possible scene this character is seen fawning over/talking about/fantasizing about the BABY.

5. Kristen Stewart finds out she has super powers! She can protect others from harm, but it only works when she grinds her face up like she’s passing a kidney stone and bites her lip really angstily.

6. Robert Pattinson tells Kristen Stewart that he has always underestimated her, and that she is constantly surprising him with her aptitude. Instead of kicking him in the junk, she finds this vote of unconfidence totally sexy, prompting another urgent (but painfully slow) kissing scene. Also revealing writer Stephenie Meyer’s personal stance on feminism/self-esteem.

7. Taylor Lautner takes all of his clothes off in front of Kristen Stewart’s dad. Upon learning the reason for Lautner’s constant disrobing, the father (the supposed “normal” compass for the viewer), immediately converts to full acceptance of such behavior in his world, no further questions asked.

8.  The protagonist vampire clan, The Cullens, stage a final battle against the evil vampire overlords, The Voltari, and invite their friends, the other good vampires of the world, to join them. This collection of cosmopolitan vamps reads like the checklist from It’s a Small World: Twilight Edition, including stereotypical leprechaun-looking Irish vampires, tribal-painted Amazon vampiresses, and two Transylvannian extras from the set of Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing. Not even Judd Apatow could conceive a better plot for a comedy.

9. Dakota Fanning (in all her eye makeup-ed glory) throws a blood-soaked baby vampire into a fire.

10. The ending credits. Honestly, one of the most saccharine, over-produced three minutes of cinematic perfection ever saved on film. I know that there are hundreds of Twi-hards who are crying themselves to sleep every night knowing that this film franchise is complete, and the ending was exactly what they needed to say good-bye to their fantasy vampire alter egos. But, wow. Just: wow. And Green Day? Really?

Overall, a delightful holiday romp for the whole family. Great fun all around. I recommend going to the Drafthouse so you can kick out any tweens who talk through the whole thing. (They are phenomenal during the fight scenes, though. Every single instance of head-ripping action blows their minds.)

Just make sure you’re not laughing TOO loudly throughout the whole movie. Those tear-jerked Twi-hards will shoot you some serious evil eyes after the film is done.

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Maria Bamford to release “living room” special in November

Maria Bamford is putting the finishing touches on her new one-hour comedy feature, Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special.

Filmed in her parents’ living room with Dad Joel and Mom Marilyn Bamford as the only audience members, the direct-to-fans special will be available for download from Chill.com on November 28th.

Her parents have long been a part of her routine, but this special promises to bring it to a whole new level of intimacy. “Why bother with an audience of strangers when you can seek your parents’ approval directly?” Bamford says of the unique format.

The delightfully quirky Bamford has three brilliant solo standup CDs in addition to the now-classic Comedians of Comedy tour with Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Zach Galafianakis.

We adore Bamford’s gentle brand of controlled chaos more than most, so we’re on pins and needles until this experiment in hysterical familial discomfort comes available.

Look for Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special on Chill.com on Nov. 28!

 

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FFF Comics We Heart: Doug Benson

Y’all already know Doug Benson, right?

He’s here most years for SXSW, he practically lives at the Alamo Drafthouse, and he was just here geeking out during Fantastic Fest. He’s here in town so often, he might as well be considered a local.

Alas, Benson is in fact from the Los Angeles area, where he continues building his gradual comedy empire, runs his podcasts and enjoys the benefits of a state that legalized medical marijuana.

Benson started recording Doug Loves Movies back in 2006, and it’s where he truly shines as a quick-witted, movie-obsessed host. Here, he talks with funny celebrities about their tastes in movies and comedy, and then subjects them to a hilarious series of lightning rounds and pop quizzes. It’s always a blast, no matter who the guest is.

Later, he began recording the live stage show he used to host called The Benson Interruption. Here, he sits on stage with the comedian and heckles/helps them with their already great material. Comedy Central made a six-episode late night show of it, which featured the likes of Thomas Lennon, Todd Glass, Michael Ian Black and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Pretty amazing stuff here.

To say that Benson is only the quintessential stoner comedian is reductive. He’s also, conversely, a very busy man, who has taken plenty of smart steps in order to position himself securely in the comedy world.

Benson was on Season 5 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing (he came in 6th), he’s appeared on almost every comedy podcast out there, he’s filmed a few Comedy Central Presents specials, he’s made a couple films, recorded five comedy albums and he became a regular on VH1’s Best Week Ever.

Not too shabby for a dude that was once voted High Time‘s “Stoner of the Year.”

We’re excited to have the squinty-eyed comedian back in Austin again for Fun Fun Fun Fest. He did a set at the Alamo Ritz for FFF Nites. And he’ll be headlining the Moontower Yellow Stage at 5:10 p.m., right after Eugene Mirman and Duncan Trussell make the jokes. See y’all there.

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FFF Comics We Heart: David Cross

Oh man, just thinking about David Cross coming back to Austin gets us all tingly.

It was maybe three years ago that we saw him live while he was touring for his latest comedy album, Bigger and Blackerer. The energy in the room was unbelievable.

Half the crowd was comprised of long-time Cross fans, who had followed his career from The Ben Stiller Show to Mr. Show and beyond. The other half was recent fans, made believers by his standout performance as Tobias Funke on Arrested Development.

The Cross veterans knew what they were in for with his standup, and the noobs were all just blown away by his hilarious crassness and his riled-up mockery of America.

This was not the closeted, blue-faced Never Nude they knew from their television box; this was a fearless creature made of unrelenting in-your-face comedy.

And that’s why we’re so pumped to see him again in Austin on the Moontower Yellow Stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest this year.

Fans of his movie and TV work will likely expect a mild-mannered, observational comedian to take the stage and make some funnies. But, if he’s still got the venom inside of him, they’ll be in for a fun surprise.

Of course, it’s possible that success and celebrity (and marriage!) might have reduced that edge in him. (He is appearing regularly on Modern Family, after all.)

But, who are we kidding? Cross is a comedian’s comedian and has plenty of darkness to share with the world. His comedic autobiography is called I Drink for a Reason, after all.

You can catch Cross on the Yellow Stage at 5 p.m. on Saturday night. And then it’s back to the cinema again next year to see him, along with the rest of the Bluths, in the big-screen version of Arrested Development.

Man, this is going to be a really great year for all of us. Let’s all start celebrating now.

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FFF Comics We Heart: Hannibal Buress

Hannibal Buress is maybe a comedy genius.

Right out the gate, his first “real job” besides standup was writing for Saturday Night Live. Yeah, that happens for some people. When they’re really, really funny.

Mike Birbiglia called him “One of the best joke writers I’ve ever seen.” So that’s probably something.

The now 29-year old started doing standup in New York and got noticed for his educated take on the “observational stoner” comedy genre.

Like a lot of comedians, he claims to spend too much time on the Internet looking for new material, which is thankfully constantly evolving.

Thanks to his SNL credit, Buress began touring across the country as a feature and ended up on the late night talk show circuit, which is where the spotlight really increased for him. He later joined the writing team at 30 Rock and has had some hysterical cameos on that show as well.

He has two comedy albums out, one called My Name is Hannibal and one called Animal Furnace, which dropped in May of this year. The latter spawned the epic Comedy Central taping called Hannibal Buress: Animal Furnace.

Burress is now appearing on the Adult Swim show The Eric Andre Show and still touring around the country.

For example, he’ll be in New Jersey Thursday, the night before he’s on the Moontower Yellow Stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest. (That is, if New Jersey still exists at that point in time…)

This is his third time in Austin this year, and we couldn’t be happier to see him back here again. He’s seriously at the top of his game right now, making a huge impact on the comedy scene right now.

You can see Hannibal Buress on the Moontower Yellow Stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest on Friday, November 2nd at 4:45 p.m.

Then maybe he’ll show up over at Cap City for that night’s Punch…? We can always hope.

 

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