The Austin Chronicle

http://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/arts/2014-04-09/comedy-out-the-wazoo-and-in-your-weekend-now/

Comedy Out the Wazoo and In Your Weekend: Now!

By Wayne Alan Brenner, April 9, 2014, 3:38pm, All Over Creation

You know the Moontower Comedy Festival's coming up fast.

Yes, and it's a hilarious juggernaut of stand-up and podcasts and a few bits of sketch comedy in there, too, and of course we're all hoping for 100% fewer assholes-in-the-audience-who-like-to-think-their-lame-and-relentless-heckling-is-on-par-with-the-likes-of-Aziz-Ansari.

But so what we're doing in this post, we're giving a shout-out to what's already happening in the city's comedy scene this weekend, and we're making it about improv in particular. To keep you informed, see? About the wealth of entertainment options in the ATX, get it?

At ColdTowne Theatre – over there near the In-N-Out Burger that caused such a big ruckus until locals realized "Oh, it's … another fast-food joint" – at ColdTowne, we say, there's the spontaneous antics of those Bad Boys to consider, as well as the more refined and character-driven gambits of narrative purveyed by The Frank Mills. Of special note is what the troupe Nice Astronaut is doing with their "Townsville: Community Center show;" but, ah fuck, that's not improv, that's sketch. Making us look all stupid, doing an excellent sketch show like that when we're trying to concentrate here, guys, on pimping the ol' improv. We smell a conspiracy, and its false flag is named Formichella.

At The Hideout Theatre, right there near Sixth & Congress, they've got a bona fide Improvised Play Festival going on. Longform narrative is the name of this game here, and it's based on a sweet array of genres. Plays made up on-the-spot in the style of David Mamet, of Samuel Beckett? Tangents of derring-do spun from the world of pulp heroes or modern female spies? A bit of the old Yog-Sothoth in your Nyarlathotep there, eh, Mr. Whately? How about improv samurai in the style of Kurosawa? How about – this Saturday night at 8pm – award-winning playwright Steve Moore directing a poignant zaniness called "Fast-Forward Casablanca"? All manner of brilliants involved, not to mention the not-so-secret improv weapons named Curtis Luciani and Kaci Beeler. Tipsy pro tip: Never mind the tasty coffee drinks, pilgrim, get you one of the Hideout's superlative wine-based cocktails before or after a show; we recommend "The Baudecliffe."

At The New Movement Theatre, that literally underground joint at Seventh and Lavaca founded by Chris Trew and Tami Nelson, there's the usual shenanigans underway, but especially of note is Friday night's solid bloc of "Date Night" events: It's an expansion of the New Movement's highly popular series, designed to make you and your sweetie – or your potential sweetie – or your soon-to-be-ex sweetie – remember that, although love does stink, sometimes it's much better to just breathe deep and laugh about the smell. Bonus: Sunday's an LGBT night, culminating in stand-up sets by NYC's Kristen Becker and friends.

At The Institution Theater down past Penn Field on South Congress, well, you remember what we were saying about a … conspiracy? Tell you what: Brad Hawkins and his crew have cooked up an improv spectacle of tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy-mongers called "Trust No One," the sort of show that Alex Jones would swear through a bullhorn is Exactly How Things Really Are. You should totally see this thing – For the good of us all, soldier! Your country is depending on you! – and disregard anyone suggesting that you pass the time by playing a little solitaire instead. Of course, the conspiracists could be right, after all, and all those Wackenhut-built prisons will eventually be filling up with Girls Girls Girls – as in the other major Institution show this weekend, wherein the acclaimed improv-women-of-song perform musicals about their incarceration (and maybe their cunning uses of a makeshift shiv), in a show called "Pink Is The New Black."

And then there's Sunday, and we daresay the perfect capper to an improv weekend is the Merlin Works improv showcase at ZACH Theatre, featuring the all-star magnificence of The Known Wizards, casting a spell of extemporaneous hilarity on you at 8pm.

And, OK, is that about enough for you? For just one weekend, at least? Because there's, like, absolutely nothing else going on in this quickly growing town?

As if, brother and sisters.

As. If.

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