Moontower Review: Super Show!

High-speed sets from a great gang of comics an ideal capper for fest

Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence (Courtesy of Comedy Central)

Brendon Walsh hosted Saturday’s Super Show! featuring a dozen comics performing 5- to 10-minute sets. Despite the fast pace, they had their work cut out for them. Because although the 90° temp and 80% humidity did not deter fans from lining up early, “It’s hard to laugh with swamp ass,” joked Walsh.

Austin ex-pat Walsh played a fabulous MC. Some sets met mixed responses, but Walsh kept things moving, sprinkling in bits of his own material throughout. Randy Liedtke, who co-hosts the podcast The Bone Zone with Walsh, also performed, along with: John Ramsey (who has performed on Live at Gotham), Troy Walker (a Denver-based comedian making the festival circuit), Jena Friedman (a producer on The Daily Show with John Stewart), Erica Rhodes (of A Prairie Home Companion), Simon Amstell (a BAFTA-nominated comedian/writer/actor), Phil Hanley (who has performed on The Tonight Show and The Late, Late Show), and Byron Bowers (who has appeared on The Pete Holmes Show and The Eric Andre Show). Austin’s − nay America’s − sweetheart, Chris Cubas, had a great set. And while all the comedians had solid bits, it was the closers, Guy Branum and Mike Lawrence, who really knocked it out of the park.

Branum (of Chelsea Lately and Last Comic Standing) performed second-to-last. He did a great job energizing the crowd with his boisterous style and over-the-top delivery. And that’s not easy after nine back-to-back performances – no matter how good the line-up! Adding in just the right amount of crowd work for such a short set, he mused on the usual life mysteries, like how to find the perfect job (which is for him, “Renaissance Pope”), the future role of reality TV, and the origin of his “gay accent.” “My current working theory is that all the dicks hitting the back of my throat have altered the acoustics,” joked Branum. “It’s like a cathedral in my mouth!” As far as reality TV goes, Branum loves it. But he thinks shows like American Idol will take on new roles in the future: “American Idol did its job. There is no more undiscovered talent in America. We found Carrie Underwood. We’re good,” said Branum. “American Idol is now a program that finds gay Midwest teens and relocates them to the safety of Los Angeles.”

After Branum, Lawrence (of Sadamantium and John Oliver’s New York Stand-up Show) closed the show with a truly original (and very funny) set. He started by winning over the audience with a little topical nerd humor: excitement over the new Batman v. Superman film. “It’s the best movie for a child of divorce,” said Lawrence. “The two people you love most in the world fighting each other, and it’s not your fault!” Everyone loved it. And while his set maintained that tone for a while, he ended on an edgier note: defending the importance of humor in society and outlining why terrorist organizations that forbid humor and satire are so dangerous. “People say [terrorist organizations] are dangerous because they’re humorless,” said Lawrence. “I’d like it if they do have a sense of humor, just a really, really bad one. Like the Isis cells are full of Reba DVDs and Garfield calendars.” The bit goes on from there. Most of the audience was on board. Some were uncomfortable. The eternal optimist, Lawrence encouraged us to see the positive side of Isis jokes. They’re “jokes no one will ever steal.”

Saturday’s performances wrapped up the 2015 festival. But check the comedian bios on the Moontower site for other appearances. And be sure to check out our pre-festival interviews with Cubas and Rhodes .

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Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival, Brendan Walsh, Mike Lawrence, Guy Branum, Chris Cubas, Erica Rhodes, Moontower Comedy 2015

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