We have a new king in our midst after Enzo Priesnitz defeated 200-plus jokers in the comedy slugfest that is the Funniest Person in Austin contest. For those who were there, it was an emotional night as Austin comic and now LA-based Maggie Maye handed the crown over to Enzo in place of the 2016 winner, the late Lashonda Lester. The lineup shifts but the song remains the same. The diversity and strength of talent in this town continues on.
Here are just some of the cool things happening on the scene this month.
Lucas Brothers at Cap City Comedy Club. The first comedy duo was Cain and Abel; things did not go well for that act. From the Smothers to the Sklars, brothers have been improving comedic relations ever since. The identical twin Lucas Brothers, stars of the new Netflix special “On Drugs,” have thrown down the gauntlet. See them live at Cap City and get two for the price of one. Hoodies and horn-rims and hilarity, oh my.
Naughty Bits at the New Movement Theater. For more than 2 1/2 years, Naughty Bits hooked Austin audiences by satirizing current “sex news” and asking comedians invasive questions about their love lives. After a brief hiatus when co-founder Ella Gale moved to Los Angeles, the show will re-debut with longtime showrunner Katie Stone inviting Gale’s fellow Reductress contributor Nikita Redkar to take the reigns hosting a lineup that includes Rob Gagnon (“Sandbox”), Allison O’Conor (“Buzzkill”) and Andrew Dismukes (“Stand Up Empire”). This show is consistently hilarious; just leave your judgment at the door.
Latino Comedy Project at Spider House Ballroom. I first came into the Austin comedy scene in the late 1990s, and I couldn’t be more excited for the return of the Latino Comedy Project. Founded in 1997, the LCP is an Emmy-nominated sketch troupe known for its political satire and pop culture parody. After acclaimed, sold-out performances at the Out Of Bounds Comedy Fest and San Francisco Sketchfest, LCP celebrates its 20th anniversary with “Gentrif*cked.” Directed by Adrian Villegas (“Six Mexicans Named Gonzalez,” “Barrio Daze”), the cast of writer-performers also includes the American-Statesman’s Omar Gallaga, Yamina Khouane (“F*ck This Week”), Mical Trejo (“Radio:30,” “Confessions of a Mexpatriate”), Danu Uribe (“Intergalactic Nemesis”) and Nick Walker (“Token White Guy”).
Mike MacRae at Velveeta Room. The St. Louis native has called Austin home for years. Aside from being a brilliant stand-up comedian who has appeared on “Late Show with David Letterman” and Comedy Central, MacRae has lent his considerable vocal talents to the “Howard Stern Show” and as Buzz Lightyear in various “Toy Story” video games. If you haven’t seen him live, you’re missing out.
48 Hour Improv Marathon at Hideout Theater. Delirium has a tendency to produce fine art, insanity or both. Starting at 5 p.m. on a Friday and going for 48 hours straight, eight warrior-like improvisers (J.R. Zambrano, Katie Dahm, Patti Stiles, Craig Kotfas, Margaret Hunsicker, Rob Yoho, Ryan Austin and Yamina Khouane) will give it all they got and then some. The proceeds benefit the Hideout Children’s Scholarship fund, providing tuition assistance to children who benefit from but otherwise couldn’t afford classes. This is an exercise in endurance for both audience and participant. Shows are hourly, so pick and choose as you see fit. Pro tip: Catch them in the wee hours when the madness really hits.
Shondee Superstar hosted by Matt Bearden and special guests at Cap City Comedy Club. The sudden passing of 2016 Funniest Person in Austin winner Lashonda Lester devastated the comedy scene. Just two weeks away from recording her first Comedy Central special, Lester left behind an enduring legacy and endless reign. While we mourn her grit and grace as friends and fans, the most important thing she left behind is her family. Join host Matt Bearden (KLBJ’s “Dudley and Bob with Matt Show”) and a bevy of Austin’s top comics to celebrate Lashonda and raise some much-needed funds to help her young son and husband. This is what makes our community so special: Coming together to laugh through our tears. It’s what Shondee would have wanted.
Brently Heilbron is a writer, comedian, emo puppet and host of the PBS series “Stand Up Empire.” Got a show to recommend? Reach out @Brently on Twitter.