The Austin Chronicle

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/arts/2014-01-21/lights-come-on-for-third-moontower/

Lights Come on for Third Moontower

By Robert Faires, January 21, 2014, 10:45am, All Over Creation

Hold your laughter, please. You'll want as much in reserve as possible come April when Austin is visited by Aziz Ansari, Maria Bamford, Mike Birbiglia, Dennis Miller, JB Smoove, and, oh yes, Kids in the Hall – plus 100 more comics, all courtesy of the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival.

This morning, the Paramount Theatre, which produces the festival, released the names of more than 60 comedians and comedy acts that are confirmed for the third edition of this annual yukfest, slated for April 23-26, and as in the past, the lineup contains enough heavy hitters to split your sides.

Ansari, who headlined the first Moontower in 2012, is back, though he won't be performing during the four days of the festival and won't be at the Paramount. He's booked into Bass Concert Hall at UT on Friday, April 18, but, according to Moontower organizers, the comic was so pleased with the festival that he requested his performance at Bass be a Moontower presentation. Moontower badge holders get premium seating and an early crack at tickets, which go on sale to the public Friday, Jan. 24.

While Moontower is identified primarily as a stand-up festival, Kids in the Hall has been high on the list of festival organizers' dream acts since the fest was conceived, and when Moontower learned of KITH's recent series of reunion shows in Toronto, it extended an invitation to bring the fun down to Texas. The troupe is already familiar with the Paramount, having played the theatre on its 2008 North American tour, and its members have visited Austin individually over the years, so that may have factored in to the troupe saying yes, but it may just as well be a testament to Moontower's rapidly growing reputation that KITH agreed to headline.

In addition to the Kids, Birbiglia, Miller, and Smoove, Hannibal Buress and Demetri Martin are headline. Bamford, a familiar face from previous Moontowers, as well as numerous gigs at co-presenter Cap City Comedy Club, makes the leap to headliner for the 2014 fest – a welcome career boost for a talented comic with a dedicated local following.

Other prominent names also on the 2014 roster: Colin Quinn, Michael Che, W. Kamau Bell, Ron Funches, Mike Lawrence, Cameron Esposito, and YouTube phenomenon Miranda Sings, who closes out the fest with a special all-ages show on Sunday at the Stateside.

The third Moontower will include numerous returning acts: Andy Kindler, James Adomian, Sean Patton, Jackie Kashian, Billy D. Washington, and Rory Scovel. A healthy number of local comics also made the early announcement, so you can count on seeing the ATX comedy scene represented by Matt Bearden, Amber Bixby, Mac Blake, JR Brow, Brian Gaar, Cody Hustak, Maggie Maye, Mike McRae, Doug Mellard, Derek Phelps, John Ramsey, and Chris Trew. Expect additional acts to be announced in the coming weeks.

Moontower has continued to fine-tune its footprint, adding the Speakeasy and dropping Scottish Rite Theatre and Bethel Hall in St. David’s Episcopal Church, leaving Cap City Comedy Club the only venue outside a five-block radius from the Paramount/Stateside center of action.

A limited number of Moontower badges are available now at a special Early Bird rate: FAN badge, $99; ACE badge, $249; VIP badge, $499. Once these sell out, badges will then be available at the regular prices (FAN for $129, ACE for $299, and VIP for $599). Single tickets to Moontower performances at the Paramount Theatre headliner shows will go on sale February 13.

For more information, visit www.moontowercomedyfestival.com.

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