Tag Archives: laugh

Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival

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Originally written for and published by Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

 

This past rainy week in Austin served up some of the most amazing comedic performances—were you able to catch a show? If not, make sure you get a ticket (or fan badge) next year—you won’t be sorry. Four days, ten venues, and over 90 performers—wow.

Headlining this week at the Paramount Theatre was Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Anjelah Johnson, Kevin Smith, and David Cross. The big-timers sold out pretty quickly but were still a steal at about $40 per ticket on average.

I was more interested in the smaller venues—I wanted to sit as close as possible to the laugh-creators and honestly, I’ve found that less-advertised performances are usually the most amazing experiences. That definitely proved to be true.

First up was Stars in Bars at Antone’s Nightclub on East 6th Street. Local comedian Matt Bearden hosted, and the night started off strong with Martha Kelly, also Austin-based, who’s known for the FX show “Baskets.” Her dark, hilarious anecdotes about her beloved cats passing away were perfect.

Jon Rudnitsky, who’s new to the SNL cast, added not one, but two “dance routines” to his stand-up. If you love Chipotle, you’ll love his burrito-maker moves. Another SNL cast member, Colin Jost, wasn’t on the original line-up, but decided to make a guest appearance I guess! His and Jon’s eight to ten minutes were way too short for me, but I’m not 100% sure if that’s because they were terrific (they were) or if they were both drop dead gorgeous. Something to consider.

Brendan Walsh, Greg Liedtke, and Dana Gould added their own quirky witticisms—the entire night was honestly a blur of sidesplitting laughter, including the closing act, The Sklar Brothers (Wild Hogs, Entourage—trust me, you know these hysterical twins).

But the person who absolutely killed it? Arden Mylin, known for her many panelist contributions to the Chelsea Lately roundtable. She SLAYED (and I would usually never use that word, because it reminds me of the students I teach, but it works here). I especially loved when she called out the obnoxious couple in front of me (who sits in the first row if they’re going to loudly talk the whole time?) and lamented about wearing Spanx. Then she commented on my Instagram post. Then she quoted my tweet. Ok, I’ll stop gushing now.

Next was the Goddamn Comedy Jam at The Parish on Dirty 6th, a place I tend to avoid, but I’m glad I didn’t that night! Josh Adam Meyers hosted, and might I add, made his entrance by grabbing a man in the front row and kissing him, rocking out with the two “roadies” (whose job all night was just to jam out and get the crowd pumped),  and forcing another man in the third row to admit what race he hated the most. Quite the first three minutes.

Goddamn Comedy Jam is all about mixing comedy with music—which is genius, especially since this is the Live Music Capital of the World. Each comedian has to perform their stand-up and then perform a song of their choosing! Such an amazing idea. Joe DeRosa sang the hell out of a Queen song and Janeane Garofalo went with The Monkees—both were more than “funny”  beforehand as well of course.

Matteo Lane stole the show for me—his jests about being gay, Italian-Mexican, and single in New York were hilarious. Plus, he sang Whitney…in the original key!

Brad Williams was the headliner for a reason—he absolutely won me over (I stereotypically thought at first that all his jokes were going to be about being a little person…I know, I’m the worst). You may know him from Comedy Central, but now I’ll forever know him as astounding an entire venue with his sex advice and Kid Rock performance. After Williams’ killer version of “Bawitdaba,” Meyers made all the comics come back on stage to do a final performance together—“Hey Jude.”

As you can see by my overflowing enthusiasm about this past week, Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is something you simply can’t miss next year. I’ll be smiling about these shows for weeks to come.

Uncomplicate

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This past weekend was one of those happy-exhausting blurs of laughter that you don’t want to end yet simultaneously can’t wait for it to be over so you can sleep!

It was a much-needed celebration—officially off of work for 2 weeks YAASSSSS. But also…and more importantly believe it or not, it was a celebration of living in the present.

Let me explain: I feel like I’ve lived my whole life living in the future—planning and plotting and manipulating every situation to best fit the needs of my impending blueprint. I will definitely shy away from some of the blame and say that my parents have always been quite…pressuring. However, I’ve placed a lot of that pressure on myself and as a result, there have really only been small windows in which I’ve let myself enjoy the moment—without thinking about the next 5 minutes, 5 weeks, or 5 years.

When I travel, I live for the present—I eat without thinking about carbs and I breathe in the sunsets without thinking about writing my next novel. When I graduated from UH, I lived for the present—I decided to skip commencement entirely and drink beer on the beach without thinking about the sand on my borrowed robe or getting my PhD. These are the happiest moments of my life and yet…it takes extreme effort to be able to shut my mind off and live that way. To think about what I want NOW instead of what my family/friends/future-self want down the road… It sounds absurd.

Saturday morning, I treated my best friend’s little brother to brunch for his 21st and around mimosa #3, he said something so funny and wise that I had to write it down before the champagne made me forget: “Alysha, you remind me of the rabbit fwhiterabbitrom Alice in Wonderland. Never has anywhere to go but always in a hurry.” I laughed my ass off—he’s right! I am on constant GO-GO-GO! mode and there’s just no reason for it…

It would be foolish to say, “So I’m done with that way of thinking. I’m going to live in the present from now on.” No. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m Type A. I’m an ENTJ. I know that I can’t change the way I am—I love planning! I love list-making! I love bossing people around and making decisions and getting things to go my way. BUT. I also love when someone or something slows all of that down and just, simply: Makes. Me. Happy.

Sometimes you have to take a breath and choose to uncomplicate your life—choose the path that makes you feel free. Light-hearted. Giddy. Happy—the most basic form of happy—not “Oh my goodness this will fit so well into my 5-year plan” kind of happy. NOT the “My parents will love this” kind of happy. NOT the “WWFAS: What would future Alysha say?” kind of happy. I’m talkin’ the right here, right now, I’m smiling and all I want to do is keep smiling kind of happy…I want to be this kind of happy always.

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So yes, “live in the present” and “do what makes you happy” and blah blah blah. But also…realize that you can’t change who you are, but you can change how you think about your happiness… I caught myself choosing what my future thought it wanted. If that makes any sense. I caught myself and I turned it around. I feel like I can breathe. I feel like I’m traveling. I feel like I’m drinking beer in Kailua, wearing my sandy, borrowed robe. I feel so simple-happy.