AUSTIN — On the seventh day, God rested. Not so for comedy at South by Southwest – we’re still driving forward with more performances and more laughs. Onward!
The Sklar Brothers kicked off a series of performances at Esther’s Follies with a taping of their Sklarbro Country podcast, punctuated by the folksy sounds of Canadian band The Sheepdogs. The duo was warmly received by a rowdy audience in high spirits (but confidential to brosef behind me: you do not have to literally cackle wicked witch-style at every phrase you hear, joke or not – okay thaaanks).
Joining the Sklars onstage was Ryan Stout, who regaled us with an awkward but hilarious tale of performing at a Cleveland comedy club during the exact moment LeBron James announced he’d be heading down to Miami. Cue inconsolable audience members! What a perfect environment for laughter that must have been.
Doug Benson’s The Benson Interruption followed shortly thereafter, which included a bonus second interrupter: Comedy Bang Bang czar Scott Aukerman. The first of the interrupted was former Austinite Brendon Walsh, whose homeless, Daniel Stern-like appearance provoked Benson to allude to one of South by Southwest’s recent controversies in asking, “Were you a Wi-Fi hot spot?”
The interaction quickly turned into more of an interview than a showcase of Walsh’s set punctuated by quips from Aukerman and Benson, a theme that continued throughout the performance.
Up next was Chip Pope, whose discussion of Hall and Oates’s lengthy choral riffing resonated particularly well with this music-loving crowd (and this writer, who would play Sara Smile on loop for eternity if it were socially acceptable).
Ari Shaffir’s shift began with some awkwardness as the trio immediately dove into an abortion story, prompting a silent lull from the comedians and the audience following its completion. Benson was right: “It’s hard to climb out of the abortion hole.” Rounding out the Interruption was the return of the Sklar brothers, who gave the audience a list of things you won’t hear at South by Southwest. A few favorites: “That pizza was a good decision.” “I can’t wait to hear the Counting Crows!” And, my personal favorite, “Thank God this thing hasn’t gotten corporate.”
One more day, y’all. Stay tuned.