Showtime's SXSW Comedy Puts Austin Culture in the Crosshairs
Show premieres July 15
By Emily Gibson,
8:00AM, Fri. Jul. 15, 2016
It’s easy to make jokes about SXSW – the lanyards, the tech scene enthusiasts, even the whiteness (as comedian Moshe Kasher puts it, “diverse kinds of white people”). The six performers for SXSW Comedy With Natasha Leggero never missed an opportunity to capitalize on the ridiculousness of Austin’s culture while they performed in the middle of it.
The special features five performing comedians – Baron Vaughn, Andrew Santino, Emily Heller, James Adomian, and Moshe Kasher – and host, Natasha Leggero. Each comedian performs for about 10 minutes, and the rest of the time is peppered with bits of “Austin” life – arguing about what to do outside Easy Tiger, “Keeping Austin Weird” by flipping a pair of sunglasses upside down, trying to communicate with Tupac via psychic medium, you know, typical Austin day-to-day. (To be fair, a scene where they pretend a food truck in the Red River Cultural District is going to charge $80 for a cheeseburger feels completely accurate.)
Like most comedy shows, SXSW Comedy has great bits and not-so-great bits. Vaughn, Santino, and Leggero stick out as particularly funny, while Adomian seems like a good time to duck out and get some more wine. The other two – Heller and Kasher – are funny, yes, but taste a little bit flat compared to the flavor of the others.
The best thing about a comedy show with six comedians is the diversity of styles and subjects. The special touches on bird mating, having children, homophobia, online dating, racism in the South, and peeing midcrowd at a Radiohead concert – pick your flavor. There are bits of silly gimmicks, social commentary, dramatic pauses, and quick-spoken monologues. So, though the hour and 15 minutes provides both dramatic highs and lows, it’s able to stay entertaining the whole way through.
SXSW Comedy With Natasha Leggero premieres on Showtime, July 15.