ASF Hot Seat: The Executives

ASF Hot Seat: The Executives

The Executives hail from the Magnet Theatre in New York City. Formed as a house team at the venerable NYC comedy institution, their collective writing credits include: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Broad City, Master of None, Funny Or Die, and more.
The Executives’ physical, thoughtful, follow-the-fun comedic energy celebrates genre bending, the zeitgeist, body-slamming and sometimes bodily functions. The Executive’s omni-brain answered our questions.

ASF Hot Seat: Victrola!

ASF Hot Seat: Victrola!

Victrola! is an improvised sketch comedy podcast lovingly piloted by ColdTowne Theater’s Michael Jastroch. In the past 12 months, Victrola ha racked up some glowing reviews and made a live appearance at the Dallas Comedy Festival, and now this homegrown podcast will record an episode live at Austin Sketch Fest. We asked Michael Jastroch some questions ANDGETTHIS, he answered them.

ASF Hot Seat: Your Terrific Neighbors

ASF Hot Seat: Your Terrific Neighbors

With the retirement of STAG Comedy, Your Terrific Neighbors “officially” became the oldest “serving” non-Esther’s sketch comedy group in Austin. YTN is also now the only group to have performed at every Austin Sketch Fest. Curtis Luciani and Courtney Hopkins are two of the busiest comedic actors and writers in Austin, appearing in dozens of scripted and improvised productions each year.

ASF Hot Seat: The Show of One-Person Shows

ASF Hot Seat: The Show of One-Person Shows

 Making its third straight appearance at Austin Sketch Fest, I Didn’t See You There: The Show of One-Person Shows goes up tonight, 10pm at ColdTowne Theater. SOOPS (as Festival Producer Will Cleveland calls it) feature 8 short, complete on-person shows from an eclectic mix of comedians from Austin’s sketch, stand-up, and improv scenes (and some people that do it all). 

ASF Hot Seat: Katie Sicking of Patriarchy II

ASF Hot Seat: Katie Sicking of Patriarchy II

 ColdTowne Theater alumn Katie Sicking left town (and our hearts) a few years back for the greener concrete pastures of New York City. Since she’s appearied in projects all over the city (at the UCB, at the PIT Theatre). In fact, she references so many sketch projects in this interview, we thought she was lying at first. She’s not. She actually does that much. It makes us feel lazy.

Bottle Smash Challenge: Be a Part of Sketch Fest

Bottle Smash Challenge: Be a Part of Sketch Fest

Last year we did a show where every sketch had someone getting domed with a breakaway bottle – one of those fake glass bottles made out of sugar that get smashed over people’s heads in movies (the classic film Road House used 9 million of them). I don’t know how it happened, but one bottle survived the event and we want YOU to do the smashing.

ASF Hot Seat: Eric Krug


2016 is shaping up to be another banner year for Austin-based comedy label, Sure Thing Records. They had their first #1 record on iTunes’s comedy charts with Jay Whitecotton’s Hi Lonesome! an they’re set to release an album later this year from Brooke Van Poppelen (truTV’s Hack My Life). For the second year in a row, Sure Thing Records is hosting an album recording during Austin Sketch Fest, this time from the amazing Eric Krug. Eric is a veteran and a past winner of the Funniest Person in Austin contest (so he’s seen some shit). He’s appeared on Comedy Central and Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. He’s also a straight-up rascal.

What’s been your process, putting together your set for the album recording?

Eric Krug: I typically try to sift through all my “hits” and find what I think is my best material, then fine tune it and compile that into a cohesive structure so it flows naturally in a one-hour set. Then I work those sets out at shows and open mics until it no longer seems funny to me anymore, at which point I throw out all my jokes and go to sleep for a few weeks. Then when showtime rolls around I just sort of wing it. I’m usually drunk.

You won FPIA back in 2008 – what effect did that have on your career?

Eric: 2008 was the same year that Barack Obama was elected our first black president. How my winning FPIA contributed to that is just something the historians will have to continue to debate amongst themselves. I think the Affordable Care Act has its flaws, but for better or worse, I think it is still a landmark legislative achievement. The answer is none.

The comedy scene in 2008 – while vibrant – wasn’t nearly the behemoth that it is today. As someone else who was there in the early days, why do you think it exploded the way it has?

Eric: I think it was a behemoth even in 2008. The industry has been coming here for years, and always taken a particular interest in Austin comics. And the fellas that were here when I started (Matt Bearden, David Huntsberger, Brendon Walsh, Martha Kelly, Jimmie Roulette, John Ramsey, Lucas Molandes, Doug Mellard, Bryan Gutmann – just to name a few) are still some of the best comedians I’ve ever seen anywhere. I think it’s exploded because more and more comics have come to the same conclusion I did. I drove up to open mics in Austin while I was still stationed in San Antonio in the Air Force, just to check the scene out, and I really had no intention of staying in Texas. But I recognized something in the Austin scene I couldn’t find anywhere else, so I knew this is where I wanted to be. The first open mic I saw was at Cap City and it was one of the best comedy shows I’ve seen to this day, and it was an open mic!

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What’s your writing process like?

Eric: I love the writing process. It’s like stand-up, but without the audience. It’s the best. I’ve just never really cared for people.

Who are your influences? Who are some of your favorite comedy acts performing today?

Eric: The first time I saw Maria Bamford will forever go down as the best stand-up show I’ve ever been too. I adore her. Growing up, I remember me and my brother couldn’t get enough of Norm MacDonald. This is a tough question to answer. I don’t want to just name well-known people, but there’s so many good comics in so many scenes around the country now I wouldn’t know where to start. Though I will say Nick Mullen is the best thing on the internet. That guy just makes me laugh stupid hard.

Do you have any fun “worst show” stories?

Eric: Actually, I told a story at Bryan Gutmann’s album recording (which won’t be on the album, since I was just the warm-up) about the time I got boo’d off the stage in Wales in the United Kingdom. I think it was because I started my set by saying, “I didn’t even realize you guys were a country. I just thought you were some stuff England owned.” Anyway, they called me “wanker” a whole lot.

Do you have any fun “best show” stories?

Eric: There was this one time when I had unprotected sex with every member of the audience after the show. I almost ran out of jizz (almost).

What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year? What do you have cooking?

Eric: I plan to spend most of my time writing while I’m out in L.A. for the summer. I’m also a giant history nerd who listens to C-Span for fun, and I have tentative plans to start doing a podcast on all the presidents (in sequential order from G-Wash to Barry-O), and if it comes together I want to start recording on presidents 1 through 5 this year and release that as the first “season.”

Eric Krug records his debut album, Sunday May 29th, 7pm at Spiderhouse Ballroom. Danny Palumbo, the winner of the 2015 Funniest Person in Austin contest, opens. TICKETS HERE.

More ASF Performers!


Remember the first wave of ASF performers? And that one dude was all like, “I bet they don’t add any more people.” Well I’d love to see the look on that smug sonuvabitch’s face when he see’s this blog post, and YOU KNOW he will see it.
What I’m saying is that we’ve added even more hilarious people to this year’s ASF line-up. We’ve got stand-up from some of Austin’s best like Abby Rosenquist, Aaron Brooks, Chris Tellez, Carina Magyar, Martin Urbano, Pat Dean, Sara June, and Sam Harter (And don’t forget about the previously announced Eric Krug album recording).

We also have the line-up for The Show of One-Person Shows. Aly Dixon, Byron Brown, Elizabeth Schantz, Lisa Friedrich, Maggie Maye, Maria Pond, Martin Urbano, and Molly Moore will all be doing complete, really funny solo shows in 8-minutes or less.

While we’re keeping the line-up for Waterbed close to our vests until the week of the show, we can announce that Martha Kelly (FX’s Baskets) will be joining Mac Blake as the show’s special guest co-host.

Complete show schedule and tickets are here.
Austin's Queen of  Comedy, the amazing Maggie Maye.

ASF Hot Seat: Love Me Tinder


Austin playwright, director and comedian Adrienne Dawes’s list of theater productions runs deep. Her plays have been produced by Salvage Vanguard Theater, American Repertory Theatre of London, Live Girls! Theatre, Little Fish Theatre Company, New England Academy of Theater, New Jersey Repertory Company, American Theater Company (Chicago, IL), and more.
In her current show Love Me Tinder, Adrienne leads an ensemble through a critically acclaimed musical sketch comedy review.

What’s great and what’s terrible about comedy in Austin?

Adrienne Dawes: What’s great is there are so many incredibly talented people (who can still afford to live) here. People are super friendly and supportive, happy to grab coffee and talk shop. I like seeing how well the community takes care of itself – resources may be expensive but they aren’t scarce.

What’s terrible is that it’s still a pretty white, straight, and cisgendered male dominated space. You might argue, “Well that’s comedy, toots!” but you’d be both completely incorrect and a carnival barker. GET OUT OF HERE, OLD MAN. There’s space for everyone here and the more diversity we see in our producers, directors, teachers, coaches, writers, and general “gatekeepers,” the more it will show up onstage, in scenes, in shows, and in the audience.

Not that this is terrible but I also sometimes worry about our community is too focused on training and classes. It’s like watching a really talented improviser lean on the back wall when you know if they just stepped OUT THERE they would kill it. I don’t know why more people don’t venture out on their own and make work. Maybe classes are a safety blanket. Maybe producing or leading your own project is very hard and tiring and life-consuming (just a little).

It just seems like there’s a certain point when you’ve done all the levels, and you graduate that. You should really graduate. Invest that money in your own career rather than a training center’s mortgage. Keep in mind that I’m saying this to you as a human female that has spent at least $5K on comedy training alone (closer to $160K if you count my theater degree), and still DOES NOT make a living doing comedy.

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Love Me Tinder has performed all over town and recently at the Dallas Comedy Festival. In the year (or more?) you’ve been doing the show, how has it evolved?

Adrienne: You are right, we are just a little over a year old! It has been amazing to see this ensemble grow. It feels like each gig they get stronger and stronger. I think the biggest milestones have been working with choreographer Lisa Del Rosario who helped give all our sketches such wonderfully silly choreography. Not everyone in the cast is a dancer (or says they aren’t – JARED ROBERTSON), but Lisa does such a great job of making everyone feel comfortable and find their own personal silly movement style. It’s amazing to watch an already really funny, solid sketch go from great to AMAZING with choreography. Brian Kremer (our composer and accompanist) has also started acting in a few sketches, which is absolutely deeee-lightful. Ward Crockett, one of our contributing writers from Chicago, wrote a sketch just for Brian, and he kills it every time. We also put ole Jared Robertson on the bass guitar for a couple of songs, which is just like, “OK. We get it. You’re good at everything!”

I see your holding auditions for the new cast. What’s next for the project?

Adrienne: David Nguyen, one our original ensemble members, has moved on to greener pastures, so we have the very unfortunate task of trying to replace him. If you’ve ever seen or heard him perform before, you know it’s just not possible. There is only one David Nguyen. We miss him.

But in order to hold down our running order, we need another ensemble member or it just gets too exhausting on people’s voices and bodies. So we’re hoping to find a new brother or sister to join the family in time for our Sketch Fest performance. As much as I love and believe in the original ensemble, I do not expect everyone to want to do this show forever and ever. People will move on, move away and get famous. I also feel like there’s a shelf life to every project (before we all get bored) but for now, we’re innit to winnit.

With a cast of heavy hitters like you have, what was the collaboration process like for putting together the show?

Adrienne: I think because the cast are all really fantastic singers, actors, writers and most have some kind of directing or teaching background (and most are Earth signs), they are pretty self-sufficient and chill. I don’t feel like I have to do a whole lot aside from general blocking adjustments or maybe ask, “Hey WHY that character accent?”

In the writing process, one of the rules we have is “Don’t bring in anything too precious.” I think it helps give everyone a lot of freedom to play with new material, no one is holding on too tightly to their original text or idea. There is a lot of improv in rehearsal, a lot of times we’ll have the song scripted but we’re not sure how the scene starts. After a few shows the cast will usually settle on some choice lines but for some sketches they keep improvising each and every performance. Really, really fun.

How did you first get into writing/directing/performing?

Adrienne: I’ve been a writer since I was a kid. I was very introverted and I still am, but I’ve just taken enough acting classes to fake my way through most social situations. I became a performer around high school (much to the amazement of my parents). The big motivation for that was I really wanted to be a playwright, and I thought if I’m going to ask people to be in my plays, I better figure out what I’m asking them to do.

Directing is newer for me. I started about a year ago. I had experience assisting some really great directors like Paul Ryan Rudd (not that Paul Rudd) and Jenny Larson from Salvage Vanguard Theater. Vicky Boone, in additional to being a casting director you hope to audition for, is also an incredible stage and film director. So I got a lot of observation time with people who really know what they are doing but it’s only been about a year totally on my own, pretending like I know what I’m doing in a strong, assertive voice.

Who are your influences?

Adrienne: My dad had me watching old Three Stooges movies and I Love Lucy re-runs at a very young age. I am not a time traveler btw. I was born in the 1980s. When I started to get really into sketch comedy, I was lucky enough that I had a friend turn me on to old school Second City and SNL. She had this point of like, “Know the history.” So that led me down a path of nerding out on books about the Compass Players, Nichols and May, etc… I had a great teacher in college, Christine Farrell, who really pushed us to find our own unique comedic voices and grab material from our personal lives. I never really considered my personal life “funny” until that class. Now, almost all of my sketch writing/songs come from things that really happened/ almost happened to me.

Gilda Radner is a huge Hero of mine. I love British comedies (save for the random blackface appearance) like Little Britain, League of Gentlemen, IT Crowd, and Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place. I will basically buy anything/everything that Graham Linehan, Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry, Chris Morris, Noel Fielding, and/or Julian Barratt make or participate in.

One of my favorite writing teachers at Second City used to direct My Mans, so I crushed super hard on them in Chicago. As you can imagine Tim Robinson’s Netflix Characters episode just killed me completely. John Early totally blows my mind and makes me seriously reconsider my “never live in NYC” rule. I feel like Key & Peele were put on this Earth just for me (Sarah Lawrence + Second City + biracial + so many jokes about weird names?). Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting is the future, past, and present.

Do you have any fun “best show” stories?

Adrienne: We had an amazing Galentine’s matinee in February during our run at Salvage Vanguard. The audience was mostly female, very juiced on free mimosas, and they laughed at everything. After the show, all the male cast members came up to me super excited like, “That was the best show! Women are our best audience!” That felt like a stealthy feminist comedienne victory. The show’s pitch isn’t that we’re a feminist comedy, but we DO feature a lot of really strong female characters who are very vocal (hahah) about their sexual desires. We also have an abundance of great dick jokes. So it’s great to showcase those kinds of comedy aren’t mutually exclusive. I don’t know what dumb person would think that they are but I’m sure they exist in Florida.

What acts are you looking forward to at this year’s festival?

Adrienne: Girls with Brown Hair! Victrola! “What Are You?”! I’d also like to see Kennedy Women again and check out more of Bad Example.

What should people interested in comedy know that you didn’t know when you started?

Adrienne: You don’t need to spend $5K -$160K on classes. Trust your own voice!

What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year?

Adrienne: I’m also directing an In Living Color inspired character-sketch show for The Institution Theater this summer called DOPER THAN DOPE. DJ onstage. Fly girls (and guys). I am so excited to work on something totally different and new!

We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline?


Catch Love Me Tinder Thursday, May 26th at 10:30pm at the Hideout Theater, along with DJ Faucet and Carina Magyar. Get tickets here.

ASF Hot Seat: Chrissy Shackelford


Eighteen months ago, ColdTowne Theater alumni Chrissy Shackelford moved to New York City to pursue her comedy writing and acting career. In that time, she’s ascended to the Characters Welcome House Team at UCB and has landed a coveted faculty position at the same theater.
Her one-person show, Diane Shangri-La Presents, debuted at the Pit Theatre’s SOLOCOM in November of last year:

“Diane Shangri-La, legendary star of the 60s and 70s, is back and she’s got something to prove – can she be a star again? Join her while she uses her talents and minuscule budget to explore women throughout history using only one blonde wig. Just be careful not to fall in love with her, she’s intoxicating. “

You’ve been in NYC for a few years at this point. What was the adjustment like for you?

Chrissy Shackelford: Yeah, I’ve been here for a little over a year and a half now. I’ll hit my two year anniversary in September. The adjustment was hard. Austin is such a great city, with a lot of comforts, like driving to the grocery store or driving to the laundromat or just being in charge of your own transportation without the subway system dictating if you’re going to be late or if you’re going to be spit on by a man yelling bible verses at you.

Just little life things were immediately more difficult, but it was also jarring to leave a community that I felt a part of and that I cared a lot about to go to a place where I knew virtually no one. What helped me ease the adjustment was trying to jump in as quickly as I could. There were a lot of setbacks. For a while I would say it was only setbacks, but things started to click in about a year into living in NYC. I got a new day-job that is flexible and allows me to pay bills and live as an actor, I got cast on the UCBT House Team Characters Welcome. After kicking around an idea for a solo show, I submitted the idea to a solo comedy festival here in the city and got accepted.

But as many triumphs that happen, there is always a setback, there’s always an audition you didn’t book, always a show that you didn’t crush, there’s always someone who’s going to vomit on you (always). New York is a place that feels like things can change drastically in the course of a day, so you’re just trying to make it to the next day and make cool stuff, but you’re also playing a long game. Because the most worthwhile careers are marathons not sprints.

So I think, for me, it’s a constant balancing act of that sprint vs. marathon. I always want things to be moving faster, especially in regards to my career, but I have to take myself out of it and remember that the most important thing is hard work and persistence and making sure to give myself the space to be a real human being who goes to parks and watches baseball games and other normal people stuff. (Going to parks and watching baseball games legitimately sounds like what a robot thinks humans do.) There’s a real trap of getting so involved in comedy that you spend every night at a rehearsal or show, especially since there is so much going on in the city, but I think it’s just as important to maybe stay home one night and google conspiracy theories about mysterious celebrity deaths.

As far as city life goes, the food here is great.

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Writing a one woman show – what’s your process like? What changes did you have to make, going from group collaboration?

Chrissy: My writing process for solo work is still pretty collaborative. I’m someone who really likes to talk ideas out, and I find that if I can’t describe an idea to someone, but I feel passionate about it, I just have to go write the piece/sketch by myself. Then once it’s a piece, I’m still going to ask someone I know and respect for feedback. Or if I’m feeling really ballsy, I’ll write something on my own, not consult anyone and put it up on a show in a bar basement and let the audience be my sounding board.

What I’ve learned the most from writing this solo show is that I can always make the work better. I can always finesse a beat in a sketch/monologue to make it hit harder and I really rely on audiences for that. As far as collaboration on this particular show, Diane Shangri-La Presents, to say that this is completely of my own design is a real disservice to my amazing director Matt Gehring. Most of the rehearsal process was just me rambling to him about ideas I had or things I wasn’t sure were working or things I was positive were working, and he really helped give the show shape and form.

Who are your influences?

Chrissy: SO MANY INFLUENCES. I love great character work from great actors: Molly Shannon, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Lisa Kudrow, June Diane Raphael, Amy Sedaris, Casey Wilson, to name just a few. I’m also drawn to performers who seem to have an agency over their own career. I was in love with Reno 911! when I was younger, and still to this day I talk about that show as a model of a television show I’d like to do one day. Same with Strangers with Candy.

What performers have blown your mind?

Chrissy: It’s hard to remember everything that’s blown my mind comedically because the farther I am from that mind blown moment the more it just becomes part of my comedy DNA. Recently I’ve been really amazed by Sam Richardson’s performance in Veep, which I’ve just caught up on. In terms of sketch comedy, something that impressed me recently was John Early and Tim Robinsons’ episodes of Netflix’s The Characters and the SNL sketch from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting in December, called “Meet Your Second Wife” – such an amazing premise and played so well.

What’s the best thing about NYC’s comedy scene?

Chrissy: There is always someone you haven’t met or heard of yet that you see do a show and then are totally inspired by. There’s so many different comedic voices and there’s a lot of different approaches to comedy happening in NYC.

What are you looking forward to at this year’s ASF?

Chrissy: I’m looking forward to seeing Nephew from UCBTLA and looking forward to seeing Girls With Brown Hair‘s new show. I’ve seen them for the past two years at ASF and they are always a highlight for me. Also looking forward to Vanessa Gonzalez, I saw her show last year and it was insanely good.

What should people interested in comedy know that you didn’t know when you started?

Chrissy: There are one million different ways to be funny.

We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline?

Chrissy: “Click Here for Free Pies” “5 Reasons Your Boyfriend Might Actually Be a Lizard” and “This Article is Not About Donald Trump”

Chrissy Shackelford will be performing in Dian Shangri-La Presents on Thursday, May 26th at 8:30pm at the Hideout Theater, along with Jonestroch and Pat Dean. TICKETS HERE

ASF Hot Seat: Cené


If you throw a stone at an Austin Comedy project, there’s a better than average chance it’ll hit Cené (and cut it out with the stone throwing, huh Austin? It’s getting a little uncomfortable). She’s a member of the improv teams Damn, Gina, Kingz, and Loverboy, as well as the musical comedy show Love Me Tinder. Most recently, Cené co-starred in the pilot “Thanks For Having Us” that was featured as IndieWire’s project of the day. How then, did Cené find time to write and star in her own solo show, “What Are You?”? No one quite knows, though speculations abound.
You’ve got your hand in – like – a dozen projects not to mention a day job. How do you juggle it all?

Cené: Haha! I ask myself that question every single day. I’m not naturally an organized, type-A person, but my schedule has forced me to learn a lot of those skills, which helps me keep my head above water. I’m constantly looking for the edge of the pool though, so I’ll let you know when I find it. As far as projects go I honestly try to find projects that I know are #1 Going To Be Fun and #2 Going to Challenge Me in some way. However, my biggest problem is finding the time to do them all.

Writing a one woman show – what’s your process like? What changes did you have to make, going from group collaboration?

Cené: The first (and best) thing I did was take the advice of Vanessa Gonzales and hired a director – Dave Buckman. I had worked with Dave before with Austin Translation and through my improv troupe Bad Font. I really have to give all of the credit to him because he really helped me develop, not only a plan of attack, but my voice as well. The transition into solo writing was (and still is) hard because I love having someone to bounce ideas off of. But, even though this is a solo show, it never felt like I was alone because Dave was there. I have mad respect for the people that can hole up in their apartment or a coffee shop and bang out a sketch on their own. I wish I could do that.

What’s great and what’s terrible about the Austin comedy scene?

Cené: What’s great about the Austin comedy scene is the sheer amount of support everyone gives to each other. We all go to see each other’s shows no matter which theater they’re playing at. We go to each other’s birthday parties. We braid each other’s hair and sing Kumbaya in the woods. Okay not really the last one, but I probably would if someone asked.

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What shows have seen that blew your mind?

Cené: I already mentioned her before but Vanessa Gonzales has been a big influence for me. I saw her show “I Don’t Know Dating” at Spiderhouse and laughed so hard I cried. CRIED! I never cry! (JK I cry all the time) That was the first time I saw someone like me (a woman of color) do a one person sketch show live. EVER. So, naturally, I bought another ticket and saw it again.

Another person who still blows my GD mind is Ithamar Enriquez. I saw him perform his silent sketch show “Ithamar Has Nothing To Say” for the first time during the 2014 Austin Sketch Fest and became OBSESSED. I started looking for clowning classes but haven’t had much luck finding any in Austin, so if you have any leads let me know.

Do you have any fun “worst show” or “worst audience member” stories?

Cené: OMG YAS. During a Kingz show last year a woman in the audience started attempting to participate in our show, which is not uncommon. It happens. People get excited, but everyone hates it – us and the audience. So we kept politely (well improv politely = passive aggressively) trying to hint that audience participation was not part of the show, but she wasn’t getting it. Then she did get it, and SHE WAS PISSED! She started to gather up her things while proclaiming how she and her guest were “getting outta here!” and knocking over beer bottles. I swear that whole process of her grabbing her purse took like 3 minutes, which is forever when you only have an 18 minute set. As she was leaving she yelled something like, “I was trying to help you guys!” then she stormed out of the theater. Of course, she was sitting in the front row so she had to cross in front of the rest of the audience to do so. It sucked at the time but every time I think about it I start laughing.

Do you have any fun “best show” stories?

Cené: So many! The one I’m remembering right now is when Damn Gina played at The Hideout for Waffle Fest last year. There was a scene where two of us walked out on stage and, clearly, neither one of us had an idea for a premise. Out of nowhere, and in unison, everyone else started singing “Loving you is easy cause you’re beautiful” by Minnie Riperton from offstage. Both of us started laughing and just kept looking at each other while the rest of the group sang the song. Then as the song hit the crescendo everyone simultaneously just screamed the high note at the top of their lungs then the scene was edited. It was glorious.

Got any advice to someone starting out in live comedy?

Cené: People interested in trying comedy should know that #1 it’s not as scary as you think and #2, you’re funnier when you’re just being yourself. So go try new things and be you.

You can catch Cené‘s show “What Are You?” Wednesday May 25th, at 8:30pm at ColdTowne Theater along with Bad Example GET TICKETS HERE.

ASF Hot Seat: Vanessa Gonzalez


Vanessa Gonzalez is pure comedy gold – notable for her sketch, improv, AND stand-up chops. But she’s made perhaps the biggest splash with her series of one-person sketch shows “I Don’t Know Words,” “I Don’t Know Dating,” and now, “I Don’t Know Why You’re Saying That.”
In the last few years she’s taken her shows on the road including multiple stops the prestigious San Francisco Sketchfest.

This is your third year at Austin Sketch Fest. How has the comedy scene here changed since then?

Vanessa Gonzalez: The Austin comedy scene has grown so much in the past 3 years! There are so many more shows going on every week. There’s a big improv/stand-up/sketch crossover, and it seems like the community is coming together more to showcase each other. It’s so great.

Your one-person shows have been getting some great national attention – but you seem pretty committed to sticking around Austin. What’s the attraction?

Vanessa: I love Austin so much. Out of all the places I’ve traveled, Austin definitely has some of the funniest people in the country living here. The comedy scene here is so good, hard-working, and determined and it pushes me to want to be better and better. Also, my best friends and family live here or near here and that’s a huge plus! Also, breakfast tacos!

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Tell us about your new show pretty please.

Vanessa: I wanted to do something different with my latest show, “I Don’t Know Why You’re Saying That.” It’s more of a traditional autobiographical one-person show. No sketches or costumes, just me talking. When I was writing it, the thought of performing it really intimidated me because it required me to be really honest and vulnerable but I really wanted to see if I could do it. I’ve been having a lot of fun performing it so far.

It seems like you started a tiny avalanche of solo sketch acts in town (that’s my premise and I’m sticking to it). What should people doing solo shows keep in mind during the creative process?

Vanessa: I think it so awesome that more people are doing solo shows in Austin. There are so many powerhouses here. I’d say just stay true to your voice and what you think is funny. Have some truth in your show, and don’t be afraid to show your real self.

Who are your influences?

Vanessa: I love love love John Leguizamo. I’ve followed his one man shows and career since I was in 6th grade. I got to see him live at The Paramount a few years ago and that definitely blew my mind. There’s so much production and precision in his performances. It’s so inspiring to watch. Ithamar Enriquez and Girls with Brown Hair are also some of my favorites to watch live.

Do you have any fun “worst show” or “worst audience member” stories?

Vanessa: Last year at FunFunFunFest, Tig Notaro’s flight got canceled so she had to miss her show, so they asked me and Micheal Foulk to fill in for her. It wasn’t a bad show but it was definitely terrifying to tell a tent full of a hundred plus people, waiting to see Tig Notaro, that Micheal Foulk and I aren’t Tig Notaro.

Do you have any fun “best show” stories?

Vanessa: My sketch group Bad Example got Kevin McDonald from “Kids in the Hall” to be in one of our shows. It was so surreal to get to perform with him! The whole cast had this electric energy and we had such a killer show.

Vanessa Gonzalez on stage at Austin Sketch Fest 2K15. Photos by Steve Rogers.

What shows are you looking forward to at this year’s fest?

Vanessa: Girls with Brown Hair and Your Terrific Neighbors!

Got any advice to someone starting out in live comedy?

Vanessa: Don’t wait to be asked to do shows. Take the initiative, network, and get yourself stage time wherever you can.

What else – comedy wise – are you looking forward to this year?

Vanessa: I’m looking forward to doing more stand-up, writing, and going on the road with my comedy partner in crime, Micheal Foulk! You can catch “This is HANDBOMB” every Tuesday @ 8pm at The New Movement.

We need to increase the visibility of this article. Any suggestions for a click-bait headline?

Vanessa: This girl thought that she was getting breakfast tacos but what she got you won’t believe!

You can catch Vanessa’s show “I Don’t Know Why You’re Saying That” Friday May 27th, at 9pm along with Abby Rosenquist and ASF headlining group Newphew, at the Spiderhouse Ballroom. GET TICKETS HERE.