AUSTIN — Day one of Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest kicked off with sunny skies and cool, brisk air, which, for a moment, made me forget that I live in Texas, the hot-and-sweaty capital of the South. Yours truly will be in attendance for all three days of the music/comedy/BMX/weirdness festival to share with you the highlights of all the strange shenanigans that go down.
The comedy stage has historically featured some very solid local comedians, and this year was no exception. Maggie Maye, a stalwart of the Austin comedy scene, delivered some very well-received bits on the strict rules that delineate what Disney Princess actresses can and cannot d.
(Pro-tip: do not take pictures in costume while smoking crack, and certainly do not post said pictures on Facebook with the caption “Disney on Ice”— as tempting as it may be to pull a Rob Ford while donning a Jasmine outfit).
Another stand-out was Kyle Dunnigan (pictured), one third of the Professor Blastoff podcast, whose prepared material on his recent colonoscopy quickly gave way to pointed, snarky rants about the thumping bass and music bleeding through the tent from a nearby stage. Said Dunnigan, “It’s like doing stand-up in a hurricane.”
Local comedian Matt Bearden (pictured below) minded the music less, but perhaps that was because Johnny Marr — of The Smiths and Modest Mouse — apparently took the outdoor stage during his set. After hearing the telltale sounds of “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” Bearden riffed on his troubled past being a new wave kid with Dead Kennedys friends. Hard knock life if you’re the kid listening to The Cure and wearing eyeliner while all your buds are wearing safety pins and shouting “CALIFORNIA, UBER ALLES.” Nonetheless, Bearden seems to have gotten over it: his set was tightly constructed, wickedly well-received, and offered a solid mix of prepared and improvised material on Austin hipsters, dogs, and the “worst song in the world.”
Kyle Kinane (pictured below) took the stage next to a hearty round of applause— lots of fans in the crowd, natch. I love Kinane for two reasons: first, he’s a Chicagoan like yours truly; second, he has a way of shouting self-deprecating one-liners about his life that makes me want to sit cross-legged on the floor in front of him for Story Time With Kyle. Example: “I burnt my laundry.” “Boredom is the disease of the debutante.” “Becoming a ghost is the DeVry of the afterlife.” How could you not want to hear more after punchy notes like those? Delightful nuggets. All of them.
Marr was still playing throughout Kinane’s set, and homeboy stopped his performance a few times to listen to “How Soon Is Now,” an old Smiths ditty from the 1984 masterpiece Hatful of Hollow. It wasn’t the same without Morrissey, but this is the best we can probably hope for.
And finally, headlining the first evening was none other than Patton Oswalt, who took the stage to a thunderous wall of cheers. The comic kicked off his set with a story about meeting eccentric and legendary documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog while on a film set that was at once painful to hear and, naturally, hilarious: Herzog thought Oswalt was made up to be a zombie. He wasn’t. Oops.
Oswalt also took on the perils of being a father to a 4-year old, including a story about his daughter’s accidental [adorable] racism that was prompted by an innocent viewing of The Lion King. Long story short: apparently Rafiki and an older black gentleman look similar to some toddlers. Oops, again. As you’d probably guess, Oswalt similarly riffed on the music bleeding in from outside, although by this point, Marr had been replaced by Kurt Vile. We were treated to an improvised duet (well, we knew it was a duet, Vile probably didn’t…) featuring lyrics like “backpack full of quinoa” and some treatise on patchouli— dude knows his audience.
Oswalt had the hyper-hipster crowd eating out of his hand. After his set closed, I dashed backstage to grab a quick chat with the comedian, which you’ll read about in the very near future. Stay tuned for more shenanigans, more comedy, and probably — unfortunately — less Johnny Marr. We can’t always get what we want, guys.
All photos by Carrie Andersen