My fellow Austinites: It’s March. Take a breath. Again. Once more. OK, ready?
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST MONTH IS UPON US! (Sorry for yelling.) The rise of Austin’s comedy scene is directly proportional to the elevation of the comedy portion of SXSW, which has been curated by legendary Austin personality Charlie Sotelo for the past 10 years. Back in the 1990s, Sotelo hosted the pre-YouTube “Show With No Name” on the Austin public access airwaves. What began as a one-night celebration of comedy at SXSW has turned into a weeklong whirlwind of the biggest names and local favorites. Tune in and badge up beginning March 9. Exhale later.
As if the big ol’ festival weren’t enough, there is a smattering of heavy hitters of the comedy spectrum throughout March at venues across the city. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Puddles Pity Party at Stateside Theatre. Just your average 6-foot-8-inch white-faced clown with a golden baritone. I first encountered PPP at Moontower Comedy Festival, where he has made frequent appearances over the years. His cover of Lorde’s “Royals” has over 23 million views on YouTube with the Postmodern Jukebox. Seeing and hearing him live is something you need to experience.
Rachel Bloom at Stateside Theatre. If you’ve seen the series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” you know Rachel Bloom has some serious musical comedy chops. I have never seen her live and cannot wait for the chance to finally do so. I’m hoping she drops some cuts off her “Suck It Christmas! (A Hanukkah Album).” See you there!
Martha Kelly at Cap City Comedy Club. The incredible rise of Austin’s Martha Kelly is something to behold. She was one of the first comics I met on the Austin comedy scene back in the 1990s, and her unique voice and dry delivery have been captivating audiences since. Zach Galifianakis specifically wrote a part for her on the FX series “Baskets,” where she plays the part of … Martha. Celebrate a true Austin success story and see her live during her run at North Austin’s Cap City Comedy Club.
Jack Septiceye at ACL Live. Ask your kids (and gaming grownups) who Jack Septiceye is. The Irishman with the top-of-the-mornin’-to-ya-laddies brogue is one of the most popular YouTubers out there. He’s been a regular presenter at many of the SXSW Gaming Awards. See his globe-trotting live show “How Did We Get Here?” when he plays his favorite games on stage.
QueerTowne at ColdTowne Theater. Celebrate the diversity and brilliance of Austin’s growing LGBTQ comedy community. This show runs the last Thursday of every month. Comedy is strength!
Jay Whitecotton at Velveeta Room. Jay Whitecotton’s bio reads like a police report. He is the product of a paranoid schizophrenic mother and an abusive father, and has survived five years of homelessness. Whitecotton is one of the fiercest and funniest writers I have seen — follow him on social media and you’ll see. Dig him for one night only with Austin comic Duncan Carson in tow; you won’t regret it.
Brently Heilbron is a writer, emo puppet and host of the PBS series “Stand Up Empire.” Got a show to recommend? Reach out @Brently on Twitter.