Fresh off the heels of a mention in the New York Times, Gowanus-based comedy showcase Butterboy made a strong debut at SXSW’s Comedy Festival last night. Absent their third host Jo Firestone, Aparna Nancherla, and Maeve Higgins shared the duties admirably at Esther’s Follies, one of the festival’s two main comedy venues. The pair created a light and funny atmosphere for the comics that followed them, with the occasional aid of their deejay Donwill.
Matteo Lane opened the show sharing his experiences at SXSW, and how they compared to tour stops in places like Ohio. His trademark high energy, punctuated with singing and non-sequiturs, did well with a crowd seemingly split between native Austinites (NOT Austonians, as I had learned earlier in the night), and the out-of-towners who have descended upon the town for the week. Following Lane, Liza Treyger partook in an extended bit of crowd work about the nature of female pleasure – and how men could care less about it. After revealing that only one guy (my neighbor at the show!) had read the definitive book on the matter (She Comes First, Treyger says to buy it at Barnes & Noble), she deftly framed that lack of pleasure as a major contributor to the seeming uptick in female anger. “This is why we let you go to war; you’re not getting it done at home!” she pronounced.
After an extended interlude from Higgins about body positivity and a recollection of Nancherla’s Women’s March experience, including a modest proposal to remove her body and instead exist as a head with limbs, Ian Abramson arrived with a charge of participation for the audience. They read movie scripts, they tested mnemonic devices, they rated his new material with the aid of a (fully functional) shock collar- it went okay, and yet not as well as he might have hoped? And as with the show chronicled in the New York Times piece, The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr. closed the show with his love letter to McDonald’s, the debate over if white people can do the Wakanda Forever salute – it’ll be decided at EssenceFest this July – and an in-depth analysis of why we don’t look at root causes of gun violence. Overall, in its first outing at SXSW, Butterboy had a strong showing with a varied cast of comics and an audience ready to laugh after a long day full of tacos and technology.
Catch Butterboy each Monday at 8pm at Littlefield in Gowanus, Brooklyn.