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Live comedy capital of the world? Insights into Austin’s burgeoning comedy scene

Austin (KXAN) – Austin has long been known as the live music capital of the world, but could another art form soon replace it?

Many people involved with Austin’s comedy scene say the comedy scene has exploded in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. Comedians, club owners and festival producers, from budding cartoonists to seasoned performers, have flocked across the country and into central Texas to say Austin is fast becoming the new epicenter of comedy. Align.

KXAN spoke to those in the comedy industry fueling the burgeoning hub fire to learn how hubs have changed in recent years and what’s to come.


Several comedians KXAN spoke to for this article said Austin’s comedy has undergone a major transformation in the years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2010s, according to sources, there were only a few comedy clubs, the Cap City Comedy Club and the Belvita Room, and a few improv venues. “In 2015, it was a small scene, so it was a great place to grow as a comedian,” he said. Ariel Isaac Normanis a stand-up comedian and podcaster who has been performing in Austin for nearly a decade.

Norman said it’s not uncommon for cartoonists to fine-tune their comedic arm in Austin and then move to more established markets like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. After playing in Austin for several years, she also felt that it might be time for her to move.

“By 2019, I was really struggling with not wanting to move to Los Angeles or New York for various reasons, but I really felt like I had to.” [that] The point is, we can’t continue to grow here,” Norman said.

Then the pandemic hit and things changed dramatically.

“By my count, there are currently 11 comedy clubs, but there may be others missing,” said Norman. “When I’m in different cities, I always say to people across the country, ‘If you’re serious about comedy and you’re a talented comedian, Austin is absolutely the place,'” she said.

“Austin is now the live comedy capital of the world,” said Norman.

comedy migration

There are many reasons for Austin’s comedy craze, but one that can’t be ignored is Joe Rogan.

Joe Rogan He’s been an authority on comedy for decades. He started out as a stand-up comedian, then became famous as a commentator for the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and he hosted the popular reality show Fear Factor in the early 20’s. Perhaps most notably, Logan has hosted events in the past few years, including: Spotify’s most successful podcastsThe Joe Rogan Experience.

In 2020, Logan announced that he would be moving from Hollywood to Texas and opening a comedy club in a few years. comedy mothership.

“It’s hard to explain what we call the ‘Logan effect,'” he said. Allison Watwetza local comic who grew up in Round Rock and has been performing in Austin for five years.

“Logan moving here was a huge factor for the industry,” Watwetz continued. “I think the comics were like, ‘Well, I hate Hollywood anyway… Let’s create our own little comedy playground.'” [in Austin]”

Local cartoonists said Logan’s presence in Austin acted as a kind of pull, and many other famous comedians headed to Central Texas.comedy-like loud voice Tony Hinchcliffe, Tom Segura, Christina P. and Tim Dillon Norman said they all secured places in Austin soon after Logan made the decision.

not just logan

Many venues in New York and Los Angeles remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but clubs in Austin are starting to open, he said. Colton Dowlingan Austin cartoonist and co-owner of stream and cave.

“Among such people, [moved here]their scene had not started again. [Austin] He was the first person who really wanted to start working again after the pandemic,” Dowling said. “There was a moment of momentum because it was like we were the first to move forward again. And after that momentum, it started rolling more and more and more,” he said.

Now, when comedians move here, there are clubs willing to give newcomers a chance, audiences willing to laugh, and bar owners willing to compensate financially for their performances. .

The latter is said to be rarely seen in coastal strongholds.

“All these [Austin] It shows the salary,” Norman said. “Most cities only pay you for headlining, featuring or hosting,” she continued. “It’s easier in Austin. The economy is better when people are willing to participate and are willing to pay.”

Additionally, comedy spaces in New York and Los Angeles are geographically distributed. In Austin, by contrast, many of the new comedy venues opened within blocks of each other, making it easier for comedians to do multiple sets in one night.

“It’s crazy to explain the Austin scene to people now because it’s so small geographically.” [and] It’s very easy to navigate. Five of the eight clubs are inside or outside of 6th Avenue, so literally on any given night he can go back and forth between the five clubs to secure a spot,” Watwechu said. .

“Here you can literally be a full-time comedian without being famous,” she continued.

just the beginning

The Creek and the Cave is one of the 6th Avenue bars that have opened during the pandemic. Rebecca Trent will move venues from New York to Austin in early 2021. He’s been operating out of Austin for a little over two years now.

“I knew Austin had a great comedy fanbase because of the festival, so it kind of made sense to come down,” said Trent.

“[Austin] It’s a hotbed of new talent,” she said. “The boom we are experiencing will continue,” she says. “It’s a really exciting time to be in comedy in Austin.”

Trent believes Austin is interested in live comedy and will support continued growth.

“We went two years without seeing live comedy. she said. “I know there’s a strong claim to music in Austin…you’ll find that comedy culture exists as well.”

Leeza Blass is the Executive Producer of the Moon Tower Comedy Festival. The Moon Tower Comedy Festival is Austin’s premier comedy festival, attracting industry celebrities each year.

Brass also believes Austin is a great town for comedy.

“We have a really great group of people. One of the things we hear over and over from comedians is that the audience in Austin understands that. They understand humor.” ‘” said Blass.

“I recommend moving to Austin,” Blass continued. “If you have even the slightest interest in comedy or becoming a comedian, I highly recommend moving here.”

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/live-comedy-capital-of-the-world-insight-into-austins-booming-comedy-scene/ Live comedy capital of the world? Insights into Austin’s burgeoning comedy scene

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