AUSTIN – If the third time’s the charm, then the third year of Austin’s rapidly growing Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival has the c-word turned up to 30. And who better to kick off this third-year charm offensive than Demetri Martin– he of the understated charisma and quietly affecting ability to disarm literally anyone.
Prior to Mr. Martin making his grand entrance at the Paramount Theatre on April 23, us seat dwellers were treated to a series of videos from local Austin collective Humordy– an elemental tie-in between the headliner/local comedy dichotomy that Moontower has proven itself so good at bridging. Once Martin himself took the stage, the lethargic Wednesday night crowd immediately sprang into eager reception mode, and the D-Man did not disappoint.
Departing from prepared material about everyday foibles and animals (“isn’t keeping a pet really holding another species hostage?”), he asked the audience what they wanted to talk about. The answers varied from “what happened to your TV show?” to “PUSSY!” but Martin, the consummate professional, dispatched all inquires with the ease of a standup veteran five times his age.
And speaking of consummate professionals, the follow up act –- maybe you’ve heard of him, Hannibal Buress? –- left audience members in more stitches than a gaggle of old ladies at a knitting convention. All toothy grins and head-throw-back laughter, Buress worked the crowd over in his usual, but reliable manner. Perhaps the best part of his routine arrived in tandem with the DJ onstage, who provided Buress with a selection of piecemeal rap lyrics from which to spin some pretty deft jokes off. Check out his newest special Live from Chicago, if you want to see what I’m talking about.
Those who trampled out toward the exit signs after Buress signed off for the night tragically missed out on his rather unusual encore: accompanied by several ballerinas, Buress directed them to plie along to his punch lines in what has to be the classiest example of backup dancer accompaniment ever. Speaking as a huge Broad City fan: Lincoln, don’t you ever let society try to change you.