AUSTIN – Okay, forewarning: there was too much legit Sunday night to be able to comprehensively share all of the laughs with you, dear readers, but I will do my damnedest to offer the highlights. Checked out three shows, all in a row, and lived to tell the tale. Mostly.
Sunday kicked off with two back-to-back live tapings of Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang Bang podcast, now obviously also a series on IFC. The second show featured Gino the Intern (a mostly incompetent 19-year old assistant to Aukerman—apparently—played by Jon Gabrus), Hooch the Mooch (a tourist in town to nab as much free swag as possible, no difficult task at SXSW—played by Matt Besser), and finally the one “real” guest, Matt Braunger.
Hooch made light of the audience’s somewhat nerdy makeup— we are embedded in the midst of the Interactive portion of SX, after all— by asking the crowd, “Who has a girlfriend here?” After only a meager showing of hands, Hooch turned to Aukerman to joke, “Check out your demographic, Scott.” Nary a hip dude in the bunch, apparently.
After Comedy Bang Bang wrapped up, The Meltdown with Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani took the stage (below). The duo entered to the theme music of HBO’s True Detective, reminding those of us who have gotten hooked on the show that we were missing the season finale to see a little comedy. They ended up basically being the same thing: Jonah killed a nude woman onstage and Kumail went undercover to sell coke to some meth dealers. Hilarity ensued.
I kid, I kid. The show offered a strong showing of comedians, from the delightful impressions of James Adomian — his impression of Louis C.K. talking Marc Maron into bed was absolutely incredible — to Kumail’s own hilarious discussion of “The Gentle Barn,” where the dude hugged an emu and tickled a goat.
The last show of my evening reminded me that I should probably start drinking coffee, since it kicked off just after 10 at night, but it was chock full of fantastic performances. Hosted by Saturday Night Live writer and featured player Tim Robinson, the lineup included a smattering of current and former members of the cast, including Sasheer Zamata (pictured above), Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Tim Meadows (a surprise walk-on) and Fred Armisen. Zamata poked fun at SNL’s race issues that prompted her hiring in the first place, quipping that she thought that the make-up folks were real excited that they got to bust out products on her that they hadn’t touched in a decade.
Other highlights included a performance by BriTANicK, a comedy duo who performed an incredibly tight and self-referential sketch about the Wild West and dudes kissing, as well as the stylings of Good Neighbor (the group to which Bennett and Mooney belong), who wowed the audience with “Mathmagic.” Color me impressed.
But, of course, many folks were mostly in attendance to catch a glimpse of sketch comedy legend Armisen, now the bandleader-slash-sidekick-slash-friend at Seth Meyers’ Late Night With Seth Meyers.
Armisen first offered some musical jokes before launching into an interactive performance in which he dropped accents from states and nations worldwide on request from the audience.
After plowing through Tel Aviv, the Phillippines, Austin, Staten Island and Caracas, among others, Armisen closed quite appropriately with an on-point accent from California.
It was such a joy to see Armisen in his element, but the stellar talent he displayed onstage made me long for the days when he sat next to Kristen Wiig at the Weekend Update desk to perform as Garth and Kat. Thank God for reruns.