It’s February, which means that it’s almost time for one of the country’s biggest multi-media festivals, SXSW in Austin, Texas. The event’s comedy arm, SXSW Comedy, is celebrating its tenth birthday this year, and it looks like the festival’s organizers are doing it big this year. This year’s lineup features a selection of stand-up comedy, television tapings and podcast recordings that looks poised to put last year’s event to shame.
On the stand-up front, festival organizers has assembled a huge list of killers that will perform throughout the one-week event. Comics who will be in attendance include Big Jay Oakerson, Bonnie McFarlane, Rich Vos, Robert Kelly, Doug Stanhope, Bob Odenkirk, Dan Harmon, Doug Benson, Matteo Lane, Michael Ian Black, Janeane Garofalo, Matt Walsh, Nate Bargatze, Matt Besser, Tim Dillon, Nick Swardson, Wanda Sykes, Joe DeRosa, John Hodgman, Liza Treyger, Nick Thune, Nicole Byer, Phoebe Robinson, Dave Hill, Eddie Pepitone and many, many more.
SXSW has always prided itself on its variety of entertainment, and this year is no exception. Comics can be seen in everything from game show tapings to intimate showcases. Some of the latter shows include Wyatt Cenac’s Seeso showcase Night Train, Doug Stanhope’s Doug Stanhope and Friends, Lorne Michaels’ digital comedy venture Above Average, and The Laugh Button Live! with Gotham Comedy Club.
Seeso has plenty of representation at this year’s festival. In addition to Wyatt Cenac’s Night Train, attendees can catch live tapings for two other Seeso veterans, Big Jay Oakerson’s What’s Your F@%king Deal? and Dan Harmon’s live-action Dungeons and Dragons show, HarmonQuest.
If game shows are your thing, then there are a few options on the table. Comedy Central’s @midnight with Chris Hardwick Live will be kicking off the festival on Friday, March 10th, featuring guests Whitney Cummings, Nick Swardson and Tom Lennon. Guy Branum and his new bizarre new truTV show, Talk Show the Game Show, will be shooting live along with guest judges Wanda Sykes and Casey Schreiner. In addition, the NYC gameshow Would You Bang Him?, hosted by Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane, will help determine, live on stage, just how bangable some of the festival’s male comedians are.
Of course, you can’t have a good comedy festival nowadays without a few podcast recordings, so SXSW has that front covered too. In collaboration with Audible, the festival will present Audible Impact, a charitable comedy/music event aimed at protecting First Amendment rights hosted by Wet Hot American Summer’s Michael Ian Black. This event will include live tapings of podcasts like Doug Loves Movies, My Wife Hates Me, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Harmontown, and improv4humans, with more to be announced later on.
Other shows to take place include popular Upright Citizens Brigade shows ASSSCAT and 420 with Matt Besser, as well as the hilariously informative GE’s ImprovScience, Good Trip with Shane Mauss, and Dave Hill’s black metal-inspired Witch Taint.
This year’s SXSW Comedy festival looks to be one for the record books, and this is only the initial lineup announcement; Festival organizers promise that additional acts will be announced as the event gets closer. So, if you’re in Austin, or plan on being Austin-adjacent from March 10th — March 19th, do yourself a favor and grab some tickets to what’s easily the most wide-ranging festival in the country. Remember, your passes for the Music and Film festivals will grant you access to the Comedy events as well!