AUSTIN– Day three began with perhaps the most appropriately titled podcast for the SXSW crowd: Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast. Before bringing out their special guest, Hardwick, Jonah Ray, and Matt Mira chided Austin residents’ penchants for the ironic mustache.
The audience, at roughly 85 percent Hipster, was down with that critique.
Before long, they brought out a very special guest: Daily Show writer and correspondent John Oliver, who hosted an evening of stand-up comedy following the podcast taping. Oliver discussed his upcoming Comedy Central series, life at The Daily Show, the upcoming royal wedding (Brits love Kate Middleton, FYI), a touching dream about Wyatt Cenac. Bromance.
The audience was in stitches all night, though no moment brought more laughter than Oliver’s impression of an upset Queen of England over Hardwick’s rendition of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” And yes, I’m leaving that out of context.
After the podcast, John Oliver’s show began to a very enthusiastic crowd; some audience members had been waiting for two hours to grab a seat. Though his entire set brought the house down, Oliver’s most sidesplitting moment was a portrayal of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon completely losing his cool on a phone call.
Kumail Nanjiani opened with some tried and true bits, but the decidedly rowdy audience decided at the top of his set to join in the fun and interject comments. Fortunately, Nanjiani was quick on his feet to turn those interrupted moments into hilarity – an appropriately interactive show, given the SXSW crowd.
Former Austinite Brendon Walsh followed with stories from his time back in Texas. Apparently he used to be quite a prankster, and many of his pranks involved wearing – and this should come as no surprise – fake mustaches. And, not surprisingly, the audience was absolutely enthralled.
Al Madrigal was number three in the lineup and shared stories from his life as a husband and father. The audience responded most strongly to his story of trying to communicate with day laborers from Home Depot – a difficult task, to be sure.
And fun dad lookalike Pete Holmes closed the show. After showing off his “boot” – a cast on his broken foot (he stepped on “uneven pavement,” how ghastly) – he launched into a diatribe (or a plea, perhaps) about the fragility of the human body. Again, appropriate, given the predominantly nerdy crowd. His near-constant shouting comedy – you’ll know it when you see it – kept the crowd’s enthusiasm high until the very last moment.
Day three was perhaps the highest energy day of SXSW Comedy thus far. Will day four bring the ruckus, too? Tomorrow is the last day of comedy until this weekend, so stay tuned!
Check out some photos after the jump!