Austin Comedy 2015: Sandbox and Waterbed Keep it Weird

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By Lisa Friedrich
I’m not a gambler, but if I had to bet on something, I’d bet most comedy shows can’t claim to summon demons and practice the Dark Arts or provide a “rascal pack” and try snacks as a shared experience. I might even wager most comedy shows aren’t run by people who truly love comedy and just want to be the best them they can be. Most comedy shows aren’t Waterbed with Mac Blake or Sandbox with Rob Gagnon.

The term “experimental comedy” can be applied to these shows, but really I think it’s more of a testament to where comedy is heading and who is ready to be on board. People are eating comedy up and spitting it out because of our access to Vine, YouTube, etc. We aren’t ready and sometimes don’t remember how to sit and watch as 3 comics talk for 10 minutes each then another comic comes up for 40 minutes.

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At either of these shows, you may see a stand up set of two, but you’ll also see:
-Canadian Sketch Comedy
-Vin Diesel talking to the Ghost of Paul Walker
-Photobooths
-New Snacks
-A mailman bringing the mail to Mac, KIND OF like Mister Rogers
-Ariel Greenspoon drenched in various foods, but honey comes to mind
-Sales Pitches
-Danny Palumbo-Urbano
-Witchcraft
-Like 8 billion other things

Both of these shows are housed in performance powerhouses: The New Movement Theater and ColdTowne Theater (although Waterbed is moving to the Spider House Ballroom starting in January) and both shows bring in some of Austin’s brightest to do things out of the ordinary. Waterbed once a month and Sandbox EVERY WEEK. Rob and Mac are creating environments for all of our crazy comedian brains to go completely nuts and I love it.

Apparently a comedy show can have its own Mailman. Aaron Brooks as Waterbed's personal postal worker. Photo by Erin Holsonback


Lisa Friedrich is a comedian, actress, writer, and hustler in Austin, Texas. Lisa hosts the monthly stand-up showcase ATX Comedy Hour at the Spider House Ballroom. Lisa starred, along with Micheal Foulk, in the 2014 film Meet Me There directed by Lex Lybrand. She’s taught improv in both Austin and Houston and is a cool person to know.