FFF Comics We Heart: Eugene Mirman

You most likely know Eugene Mirman as the voice of Gene Belcher, the youngest child from FOX’s amazing animated family on Bob’s Burgers. On the show (just renewed for a fourth season!), he’s the ideal projection of an eager, stream-of-conscious, booger-covered kid that you can’t help but love.

But in real life, Russian-born Mirman (his middle name is Boris!) is the epitome of New England articulation and hipster-inspiring cleverness. He notices the things you don’t in everyday conversation. His sets often involve visual aides.

Here, his definition of “alternative comedy”:

Mirman is no stranger to touring, and often does so at rock clubs and music venues. He’s opened for Modest Mouse and The Shins and also toured on the Comedians of Comedy Tour with Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Maria Bamford.

He has his OWN festival called the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival.

Still, he’s been kind enough to visit Austin a few times. He’s been at SXSW twice now, once at a secret show at Frank with Aziz Ansari. And last year, almost the entire Bob’s Burgers cast came to perform at a couple of show’s at Esther’s Follies.

We’re pleased as punch to get to see him and his endlessly evolving set list yet again on the Moontower Comedy Yellow Stage at Fun Fun Fun Fest. He performs on Sunday at 4:40pm, nestled right in between Har Mar Superstar and Doug Benson!

If you’ve got a wristband, make sure to give this guy a listen. You won’t be disappointed.


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Pat Dixon at Cap City this week!

Moontower comedian Pat Dixon is performing all week at Cap City Comedy Club this week. And we got a chance to talk to the sarcastic man in a suit before he got back in to town.

After traveling the comedy circuit for years, he’s settled in New York again and is busy working on his podcast “The New York City Crime Report with Pat Dixon” and writing material as a new member of the cast on the latest season of VH1’s Best Week Ever.

You can see the hilarious stand-up Wednesday through Saturday at Cap City Comedy Club.

Moontower Comedy: Your bio describes you as “deceptively conversational.” What does that mean exactly? That you throw people off with your misdirection, or that you’re more comfortable on stage than you are one-on-one with people?

Pat Dixon: I’m going to level with you. I’ve never been good at writing bios for myself. In searching for phrases I’ve never read in a bio, I ran across “deceptively conversational” and just went with it. I’m not sure what it means. But it’s an interesting word combo!

MC: Regarding your stage persona: you wear suits and ties in most of your appearances. Is that a deliberate choice, a superstition, or a coincidence?

PD: It’s funny how clothes change the comedy. If I tell a joke about having sex with an 18 year old girl in a suit, people will tolerate and even enjoy it. If I tell that same joke in a short pair of cut-off jeans, red tank top and sandals, they won’t like it or believe it because I will look gay.

MC: You toured with Ron “Tater Salad” White back in the 00’s. What is he like off stage? Still the same guy or completely different in person?
PD: Ron is one of those guys who doesn’t change at all. Drinks and smokes all the time, on stage and off. As Rahn Ramey would say, he’s “higher than giraffe pussy.” I had the opportunity to fly on his private jet. Smoking and drinking on a plane is so satisfying. You can tell the pilot to go fuck himself. It’s awesome. Ron is one of the best comics in the world.
MC: What do you like most/least about touring? Does it work for your general way of life, or would you prefer to stick to one spot? (Where is home now, by the way?)
PD: I used to travel constantly. For years I didn’t have a home base, no apartment, nothing. Just a car and a calendar full of comedy dates. Now I live in New York City and I spend a certain amount of time here eating hotdogs, working in clubs and chasing TV work. But I’m still on the road about 2-3 weekends a month. After 10 years-plus of solid road work, I love traveling. I actually enjoy airports. I love going to places like Austin, because it’s just a different scene. NYC is a bubble, you have to break out and see different people.
MC: You mentioned in an interview that you’re too anxious to be good at the networking aspect of the comedy scene (which we hear from a lot of comics). Still hate the game or have you learned some ways to make it work for you?
PD: I gave up on anxiety all together. It makes me nervous.
MC: FOX’s Red-Eye is maybe the most surprising credit on your bio. I’m hoping you can describe that experience. Do they appreciate the contributions of comedians on the show?
PD: They treated me well there. I had a fun time. But then I realized that if I just yelled out my comments about the news to any roomful of  people, I was actually reaching more people than watch the show.
MC: Comedians are getting criticized more and more these days for saying what’s on their minds. Do you know when you’ve gone too far with a joke on stage? Is there such a thing in comedy any more, and do/have you ever apologize(d) for what you’ve said on stage?
PD: Once there was a woman in a wheelchair up front who I was convinced was faking it. Some things were said. I was wrong.

MC: You were in Austin earlier this year for the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival. Did you get to experience more than the clubs? Will you get a chance to while you’re here?

During Moontower, I got to see a ton of the city. I’ve been about 6 times and always see and do as much as I can, it’s a great city!

Austin comics on their way to San Francisco Burrito & Comedy Festival, pt. 2

Continuing our conversation with the six brave comedians taking the Oregon Trail to San Francisco this weekend, we present the rest of our questions and their answers in the thrilling conclusion of the San Francisco Burrito & Comedy Festival interview!

As you’ll recall from last blog post, we started by asking the six comedians (Ralphie Hardesty, Jonathan Pace, Kath Barbadoro, Maggie Maye, Joe Hafkey and Mac Blake) what they were most excited about seeing in The City By the Bay.

What could we possibly be asking them next? (Only the most important questions for people about to head to a burrito-themed comedy festival in San Fran, clearly…)

Moontower: What is the one memento from SF you would like to find to bring back to Texas with you?

Mac Blake (@macbdazzler): Honestly? A San Francisco Giants ball cap to use as a prop. I was part of the Master Pancake Theater mock of the movie Blood Sport, and in it we see a younger version of Jean Claude Van Damme’s character wearing a New York Giants (football) t-shirt and a SF Giants (baseball) hat. It’s like he doesn’t care about a city or a sport, he just likes Giants. So I’ll grab a cap in case we ever do it again.

Kath Barbadoro (@kathbarbadoro): I’d like to get a picture of me with the Mrs. Doubtfire memorial statue. San Francisco has a Mrs. Doubtfire memorial statue right?

Jonathan Pace (@jonwilkespace): A mogwai.

Ralphie Hardesty (@ralphiehardesty): An STI.

Joe Hafkey (@joehafkey): A picture of me, shirtless, eating a burrito in front of the houses on the credits of Full House.

Maggie Maye (@maggiemayehaha): Two words: regional candy. And memories, new friendships, blah blah. All that, too.



Moontower: What do you like most on your burritos, and where do you normally get them here in Austin?

Blake: I’m more of a taco and quesadilla man, but when I’m in the mood for a baby-sized amount of meat and cheese I’ll go to Freebirds. Chicken, Monterrey Jack, a skosh of guac, and some hot sauce.

Barbadoro: Don’t tell the SFCBF people this, but I’m much more of a taco girl than a burrito girl. My Austin taco soul mate is the fish taco from Taco Mex on Manor. I’m also a big fan of the al pastor tacos at Rosita’s Al Pastor on Riverside. (I’m going to link both of them to this article once it’s posted and see if they’ll hook me up with some free tacos so please don’t cut this part out.)

Pace: I think I’m more a taco guy than a burrito dude. Why you gotta put all them beans and rice in my giant taco? Rosie’s Tacos Al Pastor on Riverside is awesome, and I like 3 of the 4 Taqueria Arandas that I’ve tried. I defy anyone to find a better salsa bar than Mi Ranchito. Carne guisada, al pastor, lengua, and lots of other stuff. Basically, good meat and good salsa with a little heat is mything, onions and cilantro if you got it, but I’m not picky.

Hardesty: Mi Madre’s Breakfast Rito is #1 for sure. Eggs, government cheese, potato, avocado, tons of bacon. It’s amazing.

Hafkey: Barbacoa or Carnitas, then a little pico, a little salsa verde, black beans, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. This will rankle the Wheatsville Co-op crowd, but my go-to is Chipotle. I take comfort in the orderly corporate environment there.

Maye: I’m all about steak fajita. With guac. With a side of queso to dip it in. Served on the bare chest of the dude that plays Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy. Is there an Austin restaurant that serves that?


Follow these six delightful comics and all of their West Coast adventures on Twitter. They will all appreciate the added support provided by additional followers.

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Austin comics on their way to San Francisco Burrito & Comedy Festival, pt. 1

It’s pretty great hosting a Festival like Moontower on our own Austin stages. But it’s also fun sharing our Austin talent with other festivals around the country.

This weekend, six of our favorite comics are headed to California for the strangely (but aptly) named San Francisco Burrito & Comedy Festival, to show off their Texas-sized talent (not in a gross way) on those California stages.

Named for the overstuffed food suitcases that became popular in the Mission District of SF, the SFBCF is growing in popularity partly due its unique concept but also because of its excellent offerings of national talent.

Headlining the festival this year is none other than Brendon Walsh, former Funniest Person in Austin and now rising Los Angeles star (and neighbor to Ms. Chelsea Peretti).

Besides Walsh, the crew representing Austin in the Best of Texas Showcase at SFBCF are: Kath Barbadoro, Ralphie Hardesty, Maggie Maye, Jonathan Pace, Mac Blake and Joe Hafkey.

When we talked with the six pilgrim-ing comedians, we asked them about what they’re most looking forward to this weekend at the festival, both comedic and non-comedic.

(Pretend they’re in the same room, politely speaking one at a time, for added effect. Because they totally are…)


What They’re Looking Forward To Most in San Francisco (non-comedically):

Maggie Maye (@maggiemayehaha): I’ve never been to San Fran, so I’m excited to ride double decker busses and gay pride floats and all that stuff. I’ve got a couple of meetings set up that I’m pretty stoked about. I’m also crossing my fingers that they’ll have a Dominican hair salon up there, since there isn’t one in Austin. Mama needs a Dominican blowout.

Mac Blake (@macbdazzler): I’m just checking it out. I’ve never been to SF before. The Alternative Press Expo, a great indie comic book convention, is that weekend. I might not be able to resist its siren song.

Jonathan Pace (@jonwilkespace): I go to Samfran Cisco pretty frequently for the dayjob, so I think I’ve seen all the sights I need to see. I’m most looking forward to being in town when there’s other Austinites I know around, which decreases the likelihood I’ll be sitting in my hotel room staring at the wall like usual.

Kath Barbadoro (@kathbarbadoro): I really want to eat a lot of dim sum. I think I am probably about as excited for dim sum as I am for comedy. Also, I’m trying to convince the other Austin comics to go on a whale watch with me, but so far I have been unsuccessful. Whatever, guys. I’ll go on a whale watch by my damn self, I’m a strong independent woman who wants to look at some whales.

Ralphie Hardesty (@ralphiehardesty): I’ve never been to SF and I hear it’s really, really gay. I’m looking forward to that. To gay people.

Joe Hafkey (@joehafkey): I’m most excited about taking advantage of my friend’s “farmacy” prescription… and going on a boat ride to whale watch.


Best Comedic Attractions at SFBCF:

Maggie Maye: I’m excited about seeing a lot of my friends face to face again. Really cool, really funny people I don’t get to see regularly, like Barbara Holm, Xander Deveaux, and Danielle Radford (my sitcom sister). And I always love seeing Morgan Murphy.

Mac Blake: I’ve seen Matt Braunger before and almost exploded with laughter, so he’s on my list. I also want to check out Brendon Walsh’s album recording.

Jonathan Pace: Brendon Walsh is taping a special or album or something, which I’d love to see. Also, another comic who came up in Austin, David Huntsberger. Alex Koll and Sean Patton are always great, and then there’s a couple that I only know from their twitter feeds that I’m looking forward to seeing live: Will Weldon and Mike Drucker. Wait, Drucker was listed, but now he’s not on the performers page anymore. Did he drop out? Is he okay? I NEED ANSWERS!

Ralphie Hardesty: I’m doing a GLBT showcase with lots of people I’m excited to meet/see like Guy Branum and Solomon Georgio. The straight people I’m excited about are: Brendan Walsh, Morgan Murphy, Alex Koll, Sean Patton, Matt Ingbretson, and tons more but this list is already really long. It’s an unbelievably good festival lineup.

Kath Barbadoro: I’m really excited to see Morgan Murphy; I love her stuff but I’ve never gotten the chance to see her live. I’m pumped about Sean Patton, too, whom I’ve seen live a number of times but never get tired of. I remember seeing Alex Koll at Cap City when I first started doing comedy two years ago, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again too; he’s super smart. The headliner of the fest, Brendon Walsh, is really funny and an Austin comedy alum, so of course I’m thrilled about that.

Joe Hafkey: I’m excited for Sean Patton, Andy Haynes, Matt Braunger, Aparna Nancharla, Brendon Walsh, Morgan Murphy, Josh Gondelman, and on and on. Also excited to see the acts I’ve never heard of.

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“Whoa! It’s those guys!”: Chris Elliott and Stephen Tobolowsky coming to Texas Book Festival

You most likely recognize Chris Elliott from his cameo appearance as “Woogie,” the hive-stricken shoe fetishist in There’s Something About Mary.

But you also might know him better from his short-lived 1990 cult favorite TV show, Get a Life, where he starred as a pathetic 30 year-old paperboy living at home with his parents. Or perhaps you remember him from his 1994 season on SNL, which happened the same year he starred in that delightfully groan-worthy film treasure, Cabin Boy. (He was even nominated for a Razzie for that one!)

Regardless, it’s undeniable that when you see Chris Elliott, you’ll go, “Whoa! It’s that guy! He’s from ______,” and most likely, you’ll be right.

And now you’ll get a chance to say “Whoa! it’s that guy!” to his face, as Elliott is coming to Austin on October 27th for the Texas Book Festival’s Lit Crawl.

In one amazing night of combined star power, Elliott will constitute one half of the lineup at the Lit Crawl edition of The Encyclopedia Show held Oct. 27 at Pine Street Station.

Recently, Elliott has been writing amazing faux memoirs that blur the lines of fiction and nonfiction and promote his generally bizarre sense of humor in amazingly unexpected ways.

Now he’s unleashed his latest comedy goldmine: The Guy Under the Sheets: An Unauthorized Autobiography. Based partly on a character he brought to life on Letterman, Elliott takes this opportunity to drop all the sultry details in this tell-all of his own fictional sex-capades with stars like Kathie Lee Gifford. Cuz that’s what you were hoping to read about in a sex tell-all, right?

Joining Elliott will be another “Whoa! It’s that guy!” actor and author (and Elliott’s Groundhog Day co-star!), Stephen Tobolowsky (who was actually just in town last night at BookPeople!)

The author of The Dangerous Animals Club, Tobolowsky is an amazing storyteller and funny as all hell, as he demonstrated to the world in the film Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party.

Besides Groundhog Day, Tobolowsky has starred in Heroes (as the bad guy with the Midas touch), Glee (as the old choir teacher with the naughty touch), in Deadwood, in Mississippi Burning and in Memento, as an anterograde amnesiac.

He’s such an amazing character actor that he’s been in basically every movie made since 1992. There is not question that when you see him, you will immediately say: “Whoa! It’s that guy!”

Even with a neck brace on, he looks awesome!

You can catch both of these amazing comedic storytellers in town at the Lit Crawl’s 9 p.m. show at Pine Street Station on October 27th. Check out the full festival schedule here.

Things finally looking up for Tig Notaro after epic string of bad luck

It’s been almost a week since one of our favorite stand up comedians, Tig Notaro, shared on CONAN the string of bad luck she’s endured over the last few months.

“Everything was going great,” the sarcastic comedienne of stage and screen tells O’Brien. “All of a sudden my life just nose-dived.”

First, she got pneumonia. Then she contracted an intestinal bacteria that nearly killed her. Then her mother passed away. Then her relationship with her girlfriend ended. And THEN! Notaro’s doctor broke the news to her that she had breast cancer that would require a double mastectomy.

Somewhere in the middle of that, she “celebrated” her birthday. Sigh.

While art typically helps us to overcome our suffering, it also works the other way around, too, luckily. In her evening performance at Largo a few weeks back, Notaro opened the show with a straightforward and hilarious address of these matters that were on her heart.

“I went out on stage and was like, ‘Hi, I have cancer.’ And the audience was unbelievable, they were with me,” she recalls to O’Brien. “It was an intense evening where the audience is crying and laughing. It was so insane.”

Her friend and fellow comedian Louis C.K., who performed that night as her special surprise guest (along with Bill Burr and Ed Helms), Tweeted later that night that Notaro’s performance “was the greatest stand up performance he’s ever seen in his 27 year career.”

What transpired that night was the work of a genius performer who knows her craft, recognized her forum and spoke with honesty and vulnerability (which are the origins of the best comedy, in our humble opinion).

Only a few hundred lucky people got the life-altering exhilaration of experiencing that performance live at Largo. But on Conan’s program, he announced that the set had in fact been recorded and would soon be available exclusively through Louis C.K.’s website for purchase.

The album is called Live (pronounced as a verb, not as the adjective) “because of the literal life and death of the material.” It will only cost $5.00 and a portion of each sale will go to Notaro’s choice of charities dedicated to fighting breast cancer.

Notaro reports that after her surgery, she is now enjoying a cancer-free prognosis and will resume her tour schedule soon. In the meanwhile, it was just announced Tuesday that she’s also got a new book deal to accompany the release of the new album.

Finally, things are looking up again for this comedian.

Ex-Austinite Jim Hamilton’s FALLON Set

Former Austin resident Jim Hamilton made his network television debut this week on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Now Los Angeles-based, Hamilton is a four-time finalist in Cap City’s Funniest Person in Austin contest, he’s appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, and he recently released his well-received debut album, “Poems About The Ocean” on AST Records. Paste magazine just published a feature on the rising comic (and that article can be viewed by signing up for a free trial). Hamilton trades in brutally dark self-deprecation, clever observations, and unabashed pun-y wordplay. His line “Spoiler Alert: The bell tolls for thee!” may not garner the Big Laugh from audiences but it’s a classic time-release nugget as far as Comedy Moontower is concerned. Oh, and hey, thanks for your concern. We kid. Check out Jim below (and note that the clip may take longer than usual to load-n-buffer for reasons unknown).

Follow Jim on Twitter

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Preview “A Liar’s Autobiography,” the 3D Animated Feature of Graham Chapman’s Fictionalized Memoir

In what appears to be something completely different and wildly creative, the animated feature, A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, “in lewd, crude 3D,” will be premiering on EPIX and in select theaters on November 2, 2012. The film is based on Chapman’s fictionalized memoir “A Liar’s Autobiography, Volume VI,” which was first published in Britain in 1980 and credits four other authors. Michael Cieply of The New York Times reported that he recorded himself reading his book in a single evening at the studio of Chapman’s friend, singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, before Chapman passed away from cancer on October 4, 1989, at the age of 48 (which shows incredible foresight since audio books were not de rigueur then and also since postmortem audio engineering is so interminably difficult).

The film uses Chapman’s narration to interact with new dialogue by fellow Pythons John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, who play various characters and sometimes themselves, in what is billed as their first reunion in 23 years. Apparently, Eric Idle did not participate but he did write an afterward to Chapman’s book when it was re-published in 1991 and which appears in all subsequent reprintings. On a side note, Comedy Moontower was utterly tickled to see Idle singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian at the 2012 Olympic Games in London since the film initially caused such an unwarranted “blasphemous” kerfuffle in the UK.

The Pythons have been the most influential comedy (and sketch comedy) group since BBC One aired Monty Python’s Flying Circus from 1969-1974. A Liar’s Autobiography should be a massively entertaining trove for both Chapman/Python fans as well as animation aficionados— the film features 17 different animation styles from 14 animation studios.  In typical dark and surreal Python-esque fashion, the trailer even boasts a plug from Chapman claiming A Liar’s Autobiography is, “The best film I’ve been in since I died.”

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The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival Aug 28 – Sept 3

Improv, sketch, and stand-up? You’re soaking in it as the low-key and high caliber Out of Bounds Comedy Festival commences for 7 days with 500+ performers putting on 100 shows at 6 venues. Now in its 11th year, OOB 2012 continues its renown for showcasing the vibrant Austin comedy landscape and hosting brilliant acts from near and afar. This year also really brings stand-up into the fold and folks may want to park their keisters at the Velveeta Room for the amazing parade of comics Wed – Sat.

From improv maestros Adsit and Lutz, to the Monk’s Night Out reunion, the sublime Mary Jo Pehl, and to the untold new favorites waiting in the wings, OOB obliges whether you wade or dive in. And in addition to the Velv, shows are at ColdTowne, the Hideout, the Institution Theatre, New Movement, and Scottish Rite. Viva laugh-filled Labor Day staycations. Thanks OOB!

30 Rock’s John Lutz & Scott Adsit                       Get Up’s Shana Merlin & Shannon McCormick

 For so, so very much info, visit outofboundscomedy.com


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Richard Linklater’s Amazingly Offbeat Travelogue Hulu Series “Up to Speed” with Speed Levitch

Director Richard Linklater and tour guide Speed Levitch (photo by Conor Lamb)

Austin-based filmmaker Richard Linklater re-teams with tour guide, historian, and flâneur Timothy “Speed” Levitch in their new “Up to Speed” original travelogue series, which premiered on Hulu last week. Like a psychedelic Ken Burns on a “magical history tour,” Levitch invites viewers to, “Join us as we hang out and empathize with the inner psyches of famous landmarks and visit with the great, monumentally ignored monuments.”  With an adenoidal and insightful voice whose eloquent loquaciousness is equal parts whimsy and weighty philosophy, Speed indeed engages with mostly inanimate yet renowned objects off the radar of mainstream history’s beaten path. In the premiere episode, “San Francisco: A City Shaped by Earthquakes,” Speed raps with a redwood and converses with the “rather flamboyant” gold fire hydrant that functioned so valiantly the day after the Earthquake of 1906. That these things talk back is more than jubilant kitsch and the laughs and vast knowledge to be gleaned from this show make it less “infotainment” than what Sarah Silverman coined as “learnmedy.”

Audiences were first introduced to the voluble mind of Speed Levitch in Moneyball director Bennett Miller’s 1998 documentary The Cruise, and Linklater recognized a kindred spirit. Linklater cast Speed in his animated feature Waking Life (2001) and they collaborated again on the 2003 short Live from Shiva’s Dance Floor. “Up to Speed” showcases Levitch, the writer and performer, but there’s no mistaking the great Linklater chat-n-amble milieu or the director/producer’s stamp of subversive bonhomie. “Up To Speed” also teems with playful animation that is evocative of Terry Gilliam’s work on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” The first episode credits the distinctive animation and illustration to Jake Mendez and Marc English, respectively, in addition to graphic design credit. And although the first slate of six episodes do not visit Texas locals, the production is the fruit of several other Austinites like editor Mike Saenz and composer / bandleader Graham Reynolds of Golden Arm Trio and who also scored Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly and Bernie (and who will also be appearing with the Intergalactic Nemesis at the Stateside at the Paramount on August 18, 2012).

And so gentle readers, since you are presumably a fan of comedy and oddity and “Up to Speed” has both in spades, might I suggest treating yourselves to a screening of this wonderfully inventive program that also merits repeat viewings. Kick it!

Click HERE to watch the premiere episode of “Up to Speed,” with Speed Levitch, on Hulu

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