Ask a comic sometime and they will tell you: There is no other performing art quite like stand-up comedy.
Musician? You can fall back on the other musicians or the music itself, if you are solo.
Acting? There are always other actors.
Sketch comedy? See above.
In stand-up, it is one person (usually) on stage, by him or herself, trying to make the audience laugh. If you are a comic, it’s just you up there, attempting to induce an involuntary response.
The rush, the intensity of interaction between performer and audience — there’s nothing like it.
And it is celebrated at the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest, which takes place April 20-23 with more than 90 comics (and oddities?) at ten venues around Austin. The fest, in its fifth year, features headlining veterans, club showcases, live podcast recording and more.
The following is far from the whole schedule; there are plenty of stand-up showcases on various themes every night. Check online for the full slate. Times and venues are subject to change without notice.
Here are a few standouts:
"Mad TV’s" Anjelah Johnson-Reyes delivers a show as her rapper character Bon Qui Qui in “Bon Qui Qui’s Gold Plated Dreams Tour featuring Group 1 Crew” 8 p.m. April 20 at the Paramount.
The eternally brilliant Martin Short delivers “An Evening with Martin Short” (A little song? A little dance? A little seltzer OK you know how it ends…) at 7 p.m. April 21 at the Paramount.
Moontower frequent flyer Janeane Garofalo plays the Stateside at the Paramount 7:30 p.m. April 21, followed by a 9:30 p.m. set from the always surreal Maria Bamford.
David Cross, perhaps best known now as Tobias on “Arrested Development,” is touring for the first time in almost six years; he’ll record his upcoming “Making America Great Again” special at the festival during two back-to-back Paramount performances at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. April 22.
Read more: David Cross says Moontower comedy fest shows won’t be all politics
Leslie Jones, who flirts relentlessly with Colin Jost on "Saturday Night Live’s" “Weekend Update” segment, presents “Leslie Loves Colin” at 7 p.m. April 23 at the Paramount.
The slightly terrifying, often dazzlingly filthy Jim Norton brings “Jim Norton: Mouthful of Shame” for two sets at the Stateside April 23 (7:30 and 9:30 p.m.)
And last but certainly not least, Maya Rudolph teams with musician Gretchen Lieberum for the female-fronted Prince cover band, Princess, at 9:30 p.m. April 23 at the Paramount.
“The Daily Show” correspondent Hasan Minhaj brings his one-man show “Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King,” about being a first-generation Indian-American, to the Google Fiber Space at 10 p.m. April 23.
Dana Gould and Arden Myrin host their variety show “The Tinkle Twins” featuring the “lounge act” Lampshades (Kate Flannery and Scott Robinson) at 10:30 p.m. April 22 at the Townsend.
Ari Shaffir delivers “This Is Not Happening,” which features long-form storytelling from stand-up comedians, at 8:15 p.m. April 21 at the Parish and 8:15 p.m. April 23 at the Parish. Think something slightly closer to “The Moth” than a regular stand-up set.
Read more about one of those comedians: Martha Kelly finally gets time in the spotlight thanks to Zach Galifianakis
The Sklar Brothers will once again host the Moontower Ping Pong Slapdown, in which badge holders and comedians compete at table tennis, at 2 p.m. April 23 at Stateside.
The hellish-sounding “Seven Minutes in Purgatory” (see what I did there?) challenges comedians to perform directly to a camera alone in a soundproof room while audience members watch a live feed in another room, at 10:30 p.m. April 21 at the Townsend. With host Ian Abramson and performers Ella Gale, Ahmed Bharoocha, James Adomian, Phoebe Robinson, Johnny Pemberton and Jon Rudnitsky.
A whole mess of comedy podcasts and SiriusXM shows will be recording live episodes at Moontower. SiriusXM’s “Opie with Jim Norton” will broadcast live at 2 p.m. April 22 and 23 from the festival. Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes will host a live podcast of “Jay & Silent Bob Get Old,” 5 p.m. April 23 at the Speakeasy. (Smith is also hosting Nightcap with Kevin Smith at 11:59 p.m. April 22 at the Paramount.) Brendon Walsh and Randy Liedtke will cohost “The Bone Zone” at 7 p.m. April 22 at the Velv Comedy Lounge.
SiriusXM is also taping a few comedy shows live:
The Bonfire, which is hosted by Big Jay Oakerson and Dan Soder, at 4 p.m. April 22 at 800 Congress and 4 p.m. April 23 at Google Fiber.
The Foxxhole, which will feature Jak Knight, Lashonda Lester, Raul Sanchez and Tony Rock, tapes at 10:30 p.m. April 22 at the Velv Comedy Lounge.
And Moontower veterans the Sklar Brothers host a special recording of Sklarbro Country, 5 p.m. April 22 at the Speakeasy.
For the most part, Moontower is a walkable festival; the majority of venues are within a few blocks of each other. The exception is Austin’s venerable Cap City Comedy Club.
The Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave.
Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress Ave.
Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research Blvd. #100
800 Congress, 800 Congress Ave.
Antone’s Nightclub, 305 E. 5th St.
Google Fiber Space, 201 Colorado St.
The Parish, 214 E. 6th St.
Speakeasy, 412 Congress Ave.
The Townsend, 718 Congress Ave.
The Velv Comedy Lounge, 521 E. 6th St.
Read more about a local comedian who will be at the Velv: Brian Gaar, from the page to the Moontower stage
Also, the Moontower Lounge on the second floor of the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel, 701 Congress Ave., offers badge holders the chance to mingle and often see some of their favorite performers.