The (Just For) Tonight Show! Turns Two!

The (Just For) Tonight Show! is a completely improvised late night talk show based on audience suggestions that features a rotating cast of Austin’s best sketch and improv actors bringing to life guests such as Cul-de-sac Donna, Larry Jenkins (Full-time mortician / part-time magician) and Donald Trump’s best friend “Ronald Grump”. With past special guests that include James Adomian from Comedy Bang Bang and Katie Rich of SNL, The (Just For) Tonight Show has showcased some of the most memorable moments on the ColdTowne stage from the last two years.

The (Just For) Tonight Show! 2 Year Anniversary Show is on December 30th and features a cavalcade of special guests, including performances by Allison Webster, Brian May, Carlos LaRotta, Chloe Ingram, Chris McKeever, Christian Payne, Christina Parrish, Conor Sullivan, Dalton C Allen, Danielle Gonzalez, Devon Coleman, Dylan Garsee, Griffin May, Jericho Thorp, Jonah Yohana, Josephh Stahlman, Katie Kohler, Katie Moore, Katie Stone, Kyle Romero, Lane Ingram, Mac Blake, Maria Pond, Mason Pitluk, Matt Needles, Michael Jastroch, Michael Perkins, Nathan Sowell, Nicole Russell, Peter Parsons, Will Cleveland, Yamina Khouane, and Yola Lu. GET TICKETS HERE!

We spoke to Austin Sketch Fest Producer AJ McKeon about his journey to Austin and 2 Years of the (Just For) Tonight Show!

You moved here not THAT long ago, relatively speaking. What brought you to Austin in general and ColdTowne specifically? What were you thinking? I moved to Austin with my then fiancé now wife for work. She got a job down here, and I had never lived anywhere but NYC. I figured it was time for a change and to take a chance and it has really been one of the best experiences of my life. Before moving one of my main concerns was what the comedy scene was like. With the UCB in New York, the opportunities were endless there, but the scene here is even better. I looked at all the theater options to see what their “Improv Philosophies” were, and ColdTowne’s aligned the closest with UCB, so that is where I checked out first. I went to a few shows and auditions and got put in a show and it really took off from there. I owe a lot to Will Cleveland (the Sidekick on The (Just For) Tonight Show! and fellow UCBNY alum) for reaching out and pulling me in to the community.

There’s suddenly a lot of UCB ex-pats floating around ColdTowne. What are the differences in the scenes? NY is soooooooo big, but the concentration is around mainly the UCB. Down here, we are also big, with 5 theaters, but there are specific camps. You can kind of pick a lane and do whatever you really want. The coolest thing about CT vs UCB is if you want to put a show up, just submit it and if it’s cool you’ll get a slot.

Two years of the Just for Tonight Show, huh? What was the genesis of the show? I am a huge fan of The Chris Gethard Show from it’s days on NYC public access. Each year on the show, they would do an episode called the Crowd Sourced Character Contest where fans would submit names of a character and nothing else. Then, performers would have to do them on the show. I’m also a big fan of Comedy Bang Bang, where extremely talented performers come in as characters, and the host Scott Aukerman has to deal with them and be the perfect straight man. I loved Conan growing up and am a fan of how weird Late Night would get at times. Specifically, the Brian Stacks bits on the show were the inspiration for the interruption section of The (Just For) Tonight Show!.

How has the show evolved or changed over the last two years? We originally started more along the lines of the crowd sourced character contest where the audience would submit characters they wanted to see and then at random I would call them out and perfumers would come on and be them. We switched over to performers coming in with characters they wanted to play, so there was more ownership and we could get to a game faster. Will and I still have no idea what the character are going to be other than their names, and maybe occupation so we are still able to find things to explore and play with as they come up. We also for a time had improvised musical guests but have moved away from that since it’s a really unique skill.

Any memorable moments or stories? There are a bunch that stick out to me. This show has given me the chance to perform with some of my idols, James Adomian and Katie Rich just to name a few, not to mention so many talented people in Austin. Other highlights: Ryan Darbonne playing the Rock but not knowing anything about the Rock’s wrestling career. Jared Robertson playing Joe Pesci as a musical guest preforming a song titled “Butt stuff” that lead to multiple people walking out. In our very first show Conor Sullivan came in with panty hose over his face and a gun, so that was a great way to kick off the run.
Really anything that Will Cleveland would interject with, he is the perfect sidekick / co-host and I love him dearly. Chrissy and Carlos’ Universal Studio Employees who worked on the Jurassic Park ride but knew nothing about any other movies and just loved fidget spinners was so fun. Having a full band for our festival shows with Jonah Yohana, Stephanie Thoreson, Jared Robertson and Chris McKeever there is always awesome!

And then of course Ray Jay McKeon. Ray Jay was a character that Michael Perkins did on a show at ColdTowne and he brought the house down! It is one of the funniest performances I have ever been a part of and then we brought him back a few more time including our show at OOB last year with James Adomian and he killed it again. He brought me a birthday cake (it wasn’t by birthday) with the number 69 on it for no reason. Michael Perkins is the best!

What are you looking forward to – creatively speaking – in 2018? Creatively, the biggest thing I am looking forward to in 2018 is creating a baby, due February 6th, but I am also going to try and figure out what the next iteration of The (Just For) Tonight Show! is as I shift my focus to fatherhood and see if we can keep the show going in some way shape or form!

ColdTowne 10th Anniversary: Weekend Line Up (Oct 20th-23rd)

Celebrating 10 years of the next big thing in comedy with four days of sketch, improv and standup from favorite performers past and present.

Evenings sponsored by our friends at 4th Tap Brewing Co-opCrystal Creek DistilleryShiner Beer and Tito’s.

2006: There was no iPhone, W. was president and the only comedy clubs in town had a two drink minimum. After a series of test runs, five comedy nerds opened a theater in a dusty store room in the back of a video store. It was put together with salvaged lumber, chairs and $400 they had pooled from the FEMA payouts they received after Katrina. Ten years later, ColdTowne has graduated over 455 students and performers, runs more than 21 shows Monday thru Sunday and welcomes over 800 audience members per week. this weekend, ColdTowne will turn ten years old, celebrating with a specially curated line-up of best-of and reunion shows.

See you here!

Get your all-weekend badges here (includes limited edition, commemorative t-shirt with art from Carlos LaRotta).


SHOWS: DAY 1 – Thursday, October 20th (ColdTowne)

8:30pm: Parallelogramophonograph (Hideout – ATX), The Knuckleball Now (ATX), Opposites (TNM – ATX)
10pm: All-Time Greatest Sketch, hosted by Bryan “Lubu” Roberts (ATX/NY)
11:30pm: The Roast of Steve Scott, from “What’s the Story Steve?” (ATX)

SHOWS: DAY 2 – Friday, October 21st (ColdTowne)

7:00pm: Movie Riot (LA/ATX), Glamping Trip (LA/ATX), Toxic Chakra (ATX/CHI)
8:30pm: Bad Boys (ATX/PORT), Elevator Action (LA/ATX), Big Beautiful Warlock (ATX)
10pm: Live at ColdTowne with Carina Magyar: Erik Krug, LaShonda Lester, Matt Bearden & Chris Cubas (Standup)

11:30pm – 9:30am Saturday: 10 Hour Comedy Lock-in (See Calendar for shows)

SHOWS: DAY 3 – Saturday, October 22nd (ColdTowne)

7:00pm: Nice Astronaut (ATX/HOU), Oh, Science! (LA/ATX), After Midnight (ATX)
8:30pm: The Frank Mills (CHI/ATX), Control-Alt-Delete (NYC/ATX), Sugar, Water, Purple (ATX)
10pm: Midnight Society (NYC/ATX/LA), ColdTowne (ATX/NOLA)

SHOWS: DAY 4 – Sunday, October 23rd (Spiderhouse Ballroom)

7:00pm: All-Star Stool Pigeon with monologist Patrick Terry of P. Terry’s. Hosted by Mac Blake (ATX/NYC/LA)

9pm: ColdTownie Awards (Open to the public) – With ticket to All-Star Stool Pigeon at 7pm

The ColdTowne Visiting Lecturer Series continues with veteran TV writer Rich Talarico.

Rich will lead a 3 hour workshop/seminar that discusses writing and creating techniques from improv-based Second City and comedic play famiLIES, to late night shows like Key & Peele, MADtv, SNL and The Tonight Show to high concept shows like Review and The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show . This will be a seminar where some participants will be asked to help demonstrate ideas and concepts and Rich will spend a lot of time answering your writing and showbiz related questions.

This event will include a few audience volunteers to illustrate theories discussed, but will follow a lecture format (not a workshop). Limited to 25 people.

ColdTowne Conservatory
6929 Airport Blvd.

Cost: $40

To register, go here.

Austin Sketch Fest Is Here!

Lovers of comedy, one of the best weeks in Austin is here. The 2016 Austin Sketch Comedy Festival––7 days of the best scripted comedy from Austin and beyond. All this week we have multiple shows each night featuring sketch, stand-up, and more starting at ColdTowne Theater, stopping by the Hideout Theater, and then concluding with three nights at the Spiderhouse Ballroom.

Our headlining shows this year includes an all-new, original Seinfeld episode performed by Bellevue, from NYC’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. From UCB’s LA Theater, we have the amazing group Nephew who’ll be performing Friday. Austin Sketch Fest was also lucky enough to get one of our favorite comedy duos NYC’s Girls With Brown Hair, back for a third straight year.

We also have a murderer’s row of hilarious Austin-based performers, including Vanessa Gonzalez, Your Terrific Neighbors, Master Pancake Theater, and more.

This year’s ASF will also play host to a live stand-up album recording from Eric Krug, who’ll be recording his comedy debut for Sure Thing Records. We’ll also have Sketch Fest editions of popular shows like Naughty Bits, the hit comedy & sex advice show. And somehow, somebody also managed to sneak in some improv.

For tickets, show information, and a complete schedule visit

A Brief History of Magic

Returning to the ColdTowne mainstage on the heels of their sold-out 2015 run, sketch team Comedy Bazaar is back in February with A Brief History of Magic.

Exploring everything from wizards and enchanters to the supernatural and the occult, the new show is sure to delight those who like magical themes as much as those who simply enjoy tightly-written sketch comedy.

ABHOMagic_poster_400x600We asked Comedy Bazaar to answer some questions about the new show.

What inspired the magical theme?

CB: “We like a theme that’s narrow enough to focus our writing but broad enough to go in a lot of directions and carry a lot of possible interpretations. Magic seemed like such a fun and natural choice.

With magic, you have the usual tropes of sorcery and knights and dragons—and those are great, of course. But then you have hypnotism, the occult, paganism and wiccanism, trickery, deception, conspiracies, and how people control and deceive each other. It’s quite interesting, when you dig into it.”

What makes this show different than previous ones?

CB: “We found ourselves writing shorter, punchier material this time. So, we embraced that and ended up with 15 sketches in the span of a 45 minute show. Expect a faster show, with many sketches clocking in at 1 or 2 minutes. Plus a few longer ones.”

What makes Comedy Bazaar itself different?

CB: “We definitely have a style. It’s a mix of zany and silly alongside cerebral and intelligent. You could say we embrace high-minded cultural satire as much as we embrace giant animal costumes and throwing food on stage. We’ve always thrived on a mix.

We’re also huge fans of the editing process. We take every sketch draft and mold it, until it reaches a higher potential. Working with a group writer’s mind—where everyone makes a sketch incrementally better with a cut here or a new phrase there—is one of our strong points.”

Thanks, Comedy Bazaar! It sounds spellbinding. Be sure to join Comedy Bazaar at 7pm on Saturdays in February.

BONUS: Want to win tickets to see the show? Plus some great magical swag from Half Price Books, including a $10 gift certificate and a 15% off coupon?

Enter the ticket giveaway by Friday Feb. 13 to win. Thanks to Half Price Books for sponsoring!

Comedy Bazaar is Alejandro Garcia, Alex Baia, Ella Gale, Matt Needles, and Nicole Beckley. Directed by Eric Rutherford.

ATX Sketch Fest Early Bird Passes and Lineup!

Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching, and that means that the 4th annual Austin Sketch Fest is only three months away. We’ve got some more lineup announcements to make, and we’re not going to lie: we’re pretty pumped about these shows.

We’ve already announced our headliners, Superego (w/ special guest Paul F. Tompkins). We’re also excited to be bringing down Ennis & Kaye, Matt Kaye and John Ennis’s (Mr. Show writer/performer) sketch project.

Joining us from NYC is Beige, a UCB Maude Team. (see Video). From Portland, comes self-help guru Lance Life, who’s one man Ted Talk-inspired lectures will change your life.

The Austin Sketch Festival raison d’etre is to bring together the very best of the Austin comedy community. Master PancakeYour Terrific NeighborsStag ComedyTastemakersEvery Girl’s AnnualUnsuspectingly Sponsored ByLaugh DammitAustin Comedy Hour, An Historic Evening w/ Brendan K. ‘Grady and the Hustle Show will all be featured.

As confirmations roll in, we’ll have even more out of town guests and locals to announce. In the meantime, we’re releasing a second round of discounted Early Bird Passes good for all shows (PURCHASE THEM HERE). The first round sold out in minutes, so jump on this!

The Festival will take place at the Spider House Ballroom and at ColdTowne Theater. The full schedule and tickets for individual shows will be released soon.

The Austin Sketch Fest is produced by ColdTowne Theater, Austin’s home for live comedy, featuring more sketch, improv and stand up per square foot than any other venue in Texas.

ATX Sketch Fest Presents: 24 Hour Austin Sketch Comedy Challenge!

So many things come in groups of 24: two cartons of eggs, twelve pairs of socks, three packs of hotdogs. But hours? Who would string together 24 hours of anything, let alone the hardest part of comedy: writing it.

In a bold move, the brains at Austin’s ColdTowne Theater and the Austin Sketch Festival have devised a way to string together 24 consecutive hours of sketch comedy mayhem. When have this many hours ever been utilized for such a single-minded purpose? If anybody’s done it, we haven’t heard from them. That’s how dangerous it is.

Competitors in the 24-hour Sketch Challenge will meet at the theater on Saturday, February 9th before Sci-Fi Saturdays. At precisely 7:00pm, 5 teams will get a string of suggestions and guidelines to ensure that their show has not been previously written or worked on.

The following evening, February 10th, starting at 6pm, teams will perform their shows. The winner will be determined by a combination of audience votes and judge feedback.

When our enormous 24-hour hourglasses run dry at precisely 6pm on Sunday, February 10th, the Brawl will begin and the victor(s) will be spoiled with naps. The losers will… probably have naps too. Having overcome both space and time, the victors will then commence bragging.

We’ll be celebrating the Austin Sketch Festival — happening this Memorial Day weekend!

THIS SHOW IS PAY WHAT YOU WANT! Keep reading for the full list of competitors and the schedule. You can come for part of or the entire two and a half hour show! Continue Reading