Comedians and comedy fans alike worked hard to make SXSW 2017 memorable. It paid off because nearly all the comedy events were PACKED. In fact, you could hear the hearts breaking among those who didn’t make it in, after waiting an hour or more to see a show.
My main objective this year, while covering SXSW Comedy for The Austinot, was to witness raw, unadulterated comedy. I did just that, and the experience was electric. In case you missed the events this year, these were my favorite moments–a glimpse into what SXSW Comedy 2017 was all about.
Podcast Fever at SXSW Comedy 2017
When you combine comedy and podcasting, the result can be blissful. The energy in the room really depends on crowd feedback. Fortunately, I can honestly say the SXSW crowd was generous and respectful with their attention.
Fans were PUMPED to see who Scott Aukerman, host of “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” was going to bring out as his podcast guests. The comedy force was strong among the group who appeared, AMC’s “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk, “Upright Citizen Brigade’s” Jessica McKenna and a local Austinite by the name of Seth Morris, whose unofficial job is to “keep Austin weird.” McKenna stole the show with the “whooshing” sound effects she made while imitating a of Cirque du Soleil-style gymnast.
I hadn’t heard of the podcast “improv4humans” before attending their live podcast recording during SXSW Comedy 2017. But I instantly knew it was bound for greatness with guests like Horatio Sanz, Jason Mantzoukas, Dan Deacon, Noel Wells, Sasheer Zamata and host Matt Besser on stage.
Here’s how the show works: Besser asks the audience for a word and the guests riff with it. For example, the word “fireworks” was shouted from the middle of the venue by an enthusiastic SXSW-goer. The brilliant improvers bounced the word around like tennis players, creating big laughs among audience members. These are people who have mastered the craft of improv. They gained at least one new podcast subscriber that night.
Stand Up at SXSW Comedy 2017
Legends held the stage during SXSW Comedy 2017. If you don’t know who Eddie Pepitone is, google him immediately and listen to his stand up. His approach is uniquely his own, and he received some of the most gut-wrenching, earth-shattering laughs I’d ever heard at a comedy club.
On March 13, he was lined up with Dulce Sloan, Mark Nomand, Sean Patton and Tim Dillon for a show appropriately called “5 Comedians Doing Comedy” at The Hideout. Some spoke about politics; some harped on the angst of relationships; and some did crowd work that left us in stitches.
I was hoping to catch the show that followed, called “Would You Bang Him?” But alas, the line was insanely long for such an intimate venue. I quickly recovered from my disappointment when I spotted Morgan Murphy walking by to join in the fun. (Enter comedy fangirl cheer here.)
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The comedy portion of SXSW is treated differently, in that it doesn’t matter what kind of badge you have. Early birds get the worm/seat. My advice to anyone attending a SXSW Comedy show is to get there an hour early and make friends while standing in line (makes the time go by faster), especially for a venue like The Hideout.
SXSW Comedy 2017 was a success. We were hungry for jokes and we got them! Until next SXSW, keep finding humor in the small things…and at your local comedy club.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What was your favorite performance from SXSW Comedy 2017?