So, you’ve got your Austin Sketch Fest All-Fest Access Badge and you’re trying to figure out which all-star comedy shows to see. You’re thinking, I have an all-fest pass so I can see them all! Not true, dumb dumb! Austin Sketch Fest is pulling out all the stops this year by doing something they’ve never done before — holding the festival in TWO venues at the same time. I’m pretty sure that makes ASF the BIGGEST Sketch Comedy Festival in the entire world, much less Austin, Texas . . . right?
Festival headliners this year are James Adomian (Comedy Bang! Bang!, Trump vs. Bernie) and Reductress LIVE! featuring Taryn Englehart and Jasmine Pierce, so those are a given. Both shows have an amazing lineup of opening sketch and standup acts.
Here are eight more shows that you don’t want to miss. Eight because it’s the 8th Annual Austin Sketch Fest, see?
- Monday, 5/22 — I Didn’t See You There: The Show of One-Person Shows. Oh hello, I didn’t see you there! This solo sketch show is curated by local king of comedy, Mac Blake, and features monologues from comedy vets and rising stars. The ASF classic is always weird and hilarious.
- Tuesday, 5/23 — Shelby Quinn and Reilly Willson are Jim & Melissa,and that’s already hilarious. Watching this Chicago-based sketch comedy duo is like watching a throwback to Vaudeville with edgy commentary and over-the-top performances. They’re kicking off the night with Maria Pond (Loverboy) in Someone Has To and Sketch Fest favorites Your Terrific Neighbors.
- Wednesday, 5/24 — The Back Pack. A couple of years ago, Katie Kohler, Pete Betcher, Justin Morley, and Jeremiah Rosenberger graced Austin with their presence all the way from Montana. With their unique style of hushed comedy, dance, and clowning, they’ve gone on to create their own performance space in East Austin and have been recognized by the B. Iden Payne Awards Council for their excellence. This speechless sketch show will make you LOL. The slot is headlined by Haymaker from LA’s Pack Theater.
- Thursday, 5/25 — UCB Characters Welcome. This solo sketch showcase from Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre NY features writers from Above Average, TruTV, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, and more. You’ll be quoting its quips for years to come.
- Friday, 5/26 — Los Angeles sketch powerhouse Tantrum is paired up with ColdTowne Theater’s senior sketch troupe Pendulum. Two UMs for the price of one! Tantrum is a house team at the Pack Theater in LA, and its members have trained at UCB, iO, Second City, and the Groundlings. Sounds like a Voltron of comic genius to me.
- Saturday, 5/27 — This Is (NOT) the Gayest Show You’ll Ever See is fresh off of a sold-out run at ColdTowne Theater. You don’t have to be gay to see the dead-on satire in this biting revue, but it may (or may not) help.
- Saturday, 5/27 — Definition of Knowledge. You’re already planning to see James Adomian headline, but this show is so stacked it’s worth mentioning again. Definition of Knowledge is probably the most unique act in the festival because they’re a slam poetry duo that doesn’t do comedy. Just kidding, it’s straight up comedy. Plus stand-up from Austin favorite Vanessa Gonzalez and the winner of VidTowne’s May Video Challenge. Hey, this isn’t a film festival! How’d that get in there? It’s funny, that’s how!
- Sunday, 5/28 — Master Pancake Theater. This audience favorite always closes out the festival with night of butt-gusting laughs. And a little birdie told me that James Adomian will be guesting with John Erler and the panel of Austin’s Funniest. (The birdie was James Adomian. [Cool bird!])
For more info and tickets, visit www.atxsketchfest.com.
Will Cleveland, Artistic Director, ColdTowne Theater