Recently, the organizers of Moontower met outside the historic Paramount Theater to announce that there would be a partnership with the Just For Laughs Group.
This year, the festival ran from September 22-25 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Moontower Comedy Festival said it would return to its normal April schedule in 2022, this time rebranded as “Moontower Just For Laughs Austin” with ten days of shows instead of just four.
“We have a built-in audience population who are willing to really experiment with these folks,” Paramount Theatre Executive Director and CEO Jim Ritts said. “This is a great place to live. Yes, it’s expensive, but yes, it’s a great place to live and the comedy community is starting to grow. I think that’s going to be really important for us.”
There were plans for 95 shows that would run through the four days. There’s also an inclusion of a new “powerhouse comedy event” which would add even more specialty content, venues, and comics from both festivals to the diverse lineup.
Cho And Her Stand Up Comedy
Margaret Cho always found places to voice her opinions. This time, she did it in a hilarious form on the Paramount stage. Cho, who was a comedian, entrepreneur, and advocate, encouraged people to use their voices to promote change. “We have to take abortion back!” She said.
Cho also spoke on diverse topics. She referred to all the dispensaries that were around and how much easier it was now. “I used to have to buy weed from child molesters! It came in a sandwich bag rolled up too! We didn’t have Sativa and Indica. We didn’t have choices!”
Cho joked a lot about her parents, especially her mom, and did a stereotypical accent as she quoted her. “My mom once said, ‘If you survive AIDS, you ugly.’” Cho went on to talk about having to go to the therapist in 1999 because of issues from her parents. She possessed a cassette tape that the therapy session was recorded on and didn’t even have a cassette tape to play it. However, anytime she wanted her parents to know how screwed up she was, she just shook the tape at them.
Furthermore, Cho spoke about being bisexual. Amusingly, she admitted the ‘B’ was often silent in LBGTQ because no one heard you if you said you were. She said no one ever really believed that you were bisexual because it was thought that a gay person coming out was a way of softening the blow of the news to their friends and family by telling them that they liked the same sex along with the opposite sex.
Daniel Webb warmed up the crowd with his jokes as he spoke about quarantine and how it made him so angry. He kept yelling out “angry” over and over again as he made his point. He then discussed how obsessed he was as a kid with Princess Diana, and how he loved her houndstooth dresses. “The more houndstooth she wore, the gayer that I got,” he joked.
He then stressed that certain people over a certain age should delete Tik Tok. He mentioned that if you knew who Baby Jessica was, you should delete Tik Tok.
Afterward, Moontower Comedy surprised the audience with Jonathan Van Ness. He’s Cho’s hairdresser and she told him that he was born to do stand-up. “I was born to do your hair,” he told Margaret, “but now I’m doing stand-up comedy for you.”
He said his guy puts up with a lot from him and they shared five cats, two dogs, and four chickens. He mentioned that COVID-19 wasn’t the first pandemic for the LBGTQ community, that AIDS was. Also, he revealed that with the pandemic and isolation, he decided to take up gardening. He felt like it was relaxing and loved it until he encountered the squash vine borer moth. He went from meditative to angry with the pests and felt like he turned into a Texan as he tried to shoot them up.
What Are Cho’s Achievements?
Born and raised in San Francisco, Cho won a contest to open for Jerry Seinfeld in the early ’90s and went on to perform for Arsenio Hall and Bob Hope. She created and starred in the 1991 sitcom “All-American Girl,” which broke barriers for Asian American representation on prime-time TV.
In the early 2000s, she sold out multiple comedy tours, had a VH1 reality show, recorded music, played Kim Jong-Il on “30 Rock,” and voiced a character in Netflix’s “Over the Moon.”
This year, she starred in the Netflix comedy film “Good On Paper” with Iliza Shlesinger. Another one of those acting projects is “Fire Island,” a queer reimagining of “Pride and Prejudice.” It starred comedians Bowen Yang and Joel Kim Booster.
Yang and Booster, who are of Chinese and Korean descent respectively, were part of a thriving generation of Asian-American comedians.
Margaret Cho As An Advocate
Cho was called the “patron saint of outsiders,” and her advocacy for the rights of marginalized people was a hallmark in her decades-long career. Even in a time of reactionary pushback to social progress, Cho remained heartened.
“I don’t get discouraged by the homophobia, misogyny, sexism, and racism that I see. There are so many people who are filling in with their voices,” she said. She also added that there was a lot of progress on social media.