Putting on live comedy shows at SXSW is a total blast. Though we might be biased, we think this year’s show was our best yet. Our friends at Gotham Comedy Club were also on hand to help us put together the night. We had the fortune of Jim Breuer travel down to host a night of great stand-up comedy by some of the best stand-up comedians out there. Terrific comedians like Nate Bargatze, Matt Braunger, Jerrod Carmichael, Byron Bowers, and Maggie Maye made up our stellar lineup over the course of two shows at 8pm and 10pm. In addition to Gotham, Blue Mics and Jakprints were on board to help take things over the top.
We were fortunate to have Sean O’Connor open the shows for us, a last minute but very welcome addition. Speaking of special guests, the one and only Sinbad was in town and asked if he could perform. Sinbad agreed to do both shows, which made things even more incredible. The crowd stuffed Esther’s Follies for both shows, with the venue having standing room only by the time things were underway. Veteran comedians played a big role in the story of SXSW comedy this year. The evening before had festival goers clamoring to see Bill Cosby, and during our show Jim Breuer and Sinbad owned the evening. While the vets showed how it’s done, they were also excited to see what the younger crew of comedians had to offer. Every single comedian was on their A game. We had the chance to fall in love with Maggie Maye and Byron Bowers whom we’ve never seen live before. We finally had the pleasure of Jerrod Carmichael performing at one of our shows. Matt Braunger became twice as funny in the year since we’ve seen him (which was hard because he slayed last year). Finally, it was exciting to see Nate Bargatze work on the final touches of his act before he was to make his debut on The Tonight Show a few days later.
The night wrapped backstage with congratulatory handshakes, autographs, photos, and well wishes. A small crowd was lucky enough to hear Jim Breuer and Sinbad talk at length about their comedy experiences and the aforementioned Bill Cosby. Then, it was over faster than we wanted it to be. We had a special night this year at SXSW and we’re glad we were able to spend it with the people of Austin.
Photos by Kristin Hillary. Cover photo Matt Kleinschmidt