There’s nothing like Austin in July. The sun blesses us with triple-digit high-fives, and Californians momentarily regret moving here. Still, the weather reminds us that it’s too hot to be too uptight. Recently, at Barton Springs, an ancient, bronzed hippie said to me, “Our cosmic appointment has arrived right on time.” I can’t get away with saying stuff like that, but I sure dug hearing it.
So what better way to start the month of Austin comedy than with Vanessa Gonzalez at Cap City Comedy Club? She’s an artist whose comic appointment has arrived … well, it would sound better coming from a Barton Creeker.
Gonzalez started performing comedy in 2008 with the Emmy-nominated Latino Comedy Project. Since then, she has been a core performer at the the New Movement Theater. For the past two years, she has made the Top 3 in the Funniest Person in Austin competition, and she’ll be featured in the upcoming season of “Stand Up Empire” on PBS. Check out her natural, conversational style, and if you’re lucky she’ll tell you about her “pickle and a bread” recipe.
Kick off the sweltering month with Vanessa Gonzalez on July 5 at Cap City Comedy Club.
Tuesdays starting July 11
Sandbox at the New Movement. Rob Gagnon is one of the most consistent performers in Austin. His brilliance is in his seemingly normal, earnestly affable shirt-and-tie exterior where he’ll slip in the most experimental comedy on us, his test subjects. Sandbox is no exception to the Gagnon universe. The weekly show began in 2015. Sandbox is the show that Gagnon “needed when (he) first started performing. The show doesn’t allow traditional stand-up and encourages failure because it’s a fertile ground for success.” Did we mention there are snacks? Jump in the Sandbox and prepare yourself for the unpreparable.
Wednesdays starting July 12
Improv Fantasy League at ColdTowne Theater. Imagine the ’80s classic “The Warriors” meets “The Voice” meets high concept comedy. The 8th Annual Improv Fantasy League is a monthlong comedy tournament hosted by ColdTowne Theater and is open to improvisers who earlier this summer submitted to be in an improv fantasy draft. Each week three of the live action fantasy teams will battle against each other by performing improvised comedy shows, and the favorite team from each week will advance to the final round on July 26 where one group will be crowned the champions of Austin improv. Untold riches and rivers of queso await them.
Laugh Out Proud at the Institution Theater. Luke Wallens launched the queer comedy show Laugh Out Proud in March 2016 at the request of Institution theater owner Tom Booker. Since then, it has continued to sell out monthly and has featured stellar performances from comics like Micheal Foulk (“Greetings from Queer Mountain”), Arielle Norman, Melody Shifflett (“Stand Up Empire”), magician Jack Darling and a bevy of guests. As the LGBTQQIAAP acronym gets longer and more inclusive, so does this show. All fans of comedy are welcome.
Spun Out 1 Year Anniversary Show at Mohawk. The comedy and music scene are meant to collide and collude. So I have a particular soft spot for comedy shows at music venues. There is a looseness and variety to these shows that often isn’t found in more traditional stand-up settings. Enter Adam Serwa and Tanya Nascimento, two of Austin comedy’s enfants terribles, along with hype man Tai Nguyen, and you have Spun Out, the Mohawk’s only monthly comedy show. Spun Out is a sublime mix of stand-up comedy, improvisation and the classic game show act of letting your fate be decided by the spin of an oversized wheel. Spun Out is coming up on its first full year of shenanigans and this month showcases the talents of local favorites Nathalie Holmes, Ariel Greenspoon, Brett Vervoort, Jared Hawley, Holli Cuomo and guests.
July 21 and 22
Lisa deLarios with Kerri Lendo at Velveeta Room. I first met Lisa deLarios when we were both teenage comics in Dallas. I was blown away by her smarts and style. For three years she co-wrote and co-hosted the wildly popular Brooklyn underground comedy show Party Machine with Arden Myrin. Lisa has toured the country featuring for Zach Galifianakis, Paul F. Tompkins and Maria Bamford, among others, and was showcased on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and the first season of “Stand Up Empire.” Her “Lisa-rotica” short stories floor me every time. Kerri Lendo (Moontower Comedy) hosts with special guests in tow. Both Lisa and Kerri are LA-bound shortly, so catch them while you can.
Brently Heilbron is a writer, comedian and host of the PBS series “Stand Up Empire.” Got a show to recommend? Reach out @Brently on Twitter!