Announcing the initial lineup of participants and shows for the 2018 SXSW Comedy Festival. For over a decade, the festival has pulled guests from all corners of the entertainment industry — hosting hundreds of acclaimed comedians and entertainers. During a week-long whirlwind featuring comedy’s rising stars and established names, the SXSW Comedy Festival presents uniquely diverse programming including live showcases, podcast recordings, conversations, and more.
“We hope to bring together compelling voices in comedy and provide them a place to shine within SXSW’s diverse media landscape. The unique gathering from all reaches of entertainment so often leads to surprising moments and lasting relationships.” said Charlie Sotelo, Head of SXSW Comedy Festival. “It’s exciting to watch our performers thrive in that environment and we can’t wait to see what happens.”
Explore programming highlights below and stay tuned for more announcements from SXSW Comedy, which will include additional performers, showcases, and events. Full details and lineups are available on the online SXSW Schedule.
2018 SXSW Comedy Festival Participants
Adam Lustick • Adam Pally • Aparna Nancherla • Baron Vaughn • Beth Stelling • Betsy Sodaro • Bill Hader • Chris Garcia • Conner O’Malley • Dave Anthony • Dave Hill • David Gborie • Dick Cavett • Doug Benson • Gareth Reynolds • Godfrey • Horatio Sanz • Ian Abramson • Ian Karmel • Jake Weisman • James Adomian • James Davis • Jermaine Fowler • Jim Gaffigan • Jo Firestone • Joe Pera • Jon Gabrus • Lauren Lapkus • Leonard Maltin • Liza Treyger • Lynne Koplitz • Maeve Higgins • Martha Kelly • Matt Besser • Matt Ingebretson • Matteo Lane • Matthew Broussard • Monroe Martin • Nick Thune • Nick Offerman • Orlando Leyba • Pat Bishop • Rachel Bloom • Ramon Rivas • Robin Thede • Ron White • Roy Wood Jr. • Sam Morril • Scott Aukerman • Sean Patton • Stuart Goldsmith • Vanessa Gonzalez • Willie Barcena and More
2018 SXSW Comedy Festival Special Programs Featuring
ASSSSCAT • Butterboy • Comedy Bang! Bang! • Comedy Central’s Corporate Retreat • Doug Loves Movies • improv4humans • James Davis and Friends • Loud Village Live • Maltin on Movies • The Comedian’s Comedian • The Dollop • Witch Taint and More
This year’s festival opens on Friday, March 9 with WFMU’s Dave Hill hosting, Cavett on Comedy, a conversation with broadcasting legend and pop icon, Dick Cavett. From his start as a writer on Jack Paar’s The Tonight Show, Cavett kept close to comedy through his run on The Dick Cavett Show and throughout his distinguished career. He’ll share stories from his nearly 60-years entwined with some of comedy greatest figures.
The lineup includes collaborations highlighting current works by relevant presenters and performers. Comedy Central’s Corporate Retreat will celebrate the season-one finale of Corporate, the network’s dark, incisive take on cubicle life – featuring creators, Pat Bishop, Matt Ingebretson, and Jake Weisman, along with co-stars Adam Lustick, Aparna Nancherla, and Baron Vaughn. The delightfully subdued Joe Pera will lend his best indoor voice to this year’s list of live performances. He’ll join Jo Firestone (The Tonight Show) and Conner O’Malley (Late Night with Seth Meyers) for a showcase performance and sneak peek of his new Adult Swim, live-action comedy, Joe Pera Talks With You. Nancherla, Firestone and Maeve Higgins host Brooklyn’s newest must-see show, Butterboy. Higgins and Nancherla, backed by DJ Donwill’s musical-stylings, will welcome Roy Wood Jr. and a lineup of hilarious friends to a special SXSW edition of Butterboy. And Adam Pally will host Rachel Bloom and the cast of Most Likely to Murder (a SXSW Film World Premiere) for an evening of music and stories about growing up.
This year’s roster also includes several festival favorites. Upright Citizen Brigade (UCB) cofounder, Matt Besser, returns with his hit podcast improv4humans. He’ll also lead UCB’s flagship show, ASSSCAT (improv based on true tales from celebrity guests), riff on hit songs in the Sing-A-Long Comedy Experiment, and provide weed comedy for stoners and friends of stoners at The 420 Show. The Laugh Button returns with New York’s Gotham Comedy Club to present a lineup of favorites from the iconic club’s stage. Dave Hill and musician Phil Costello, as the faux black metal band Witch Taint, will read the viral email exchange that almost landed the band a real Norwegian record deal and close with a performance from Witch Taint’s terrifying catalog. (Assuming you can handle it.)
Following a morning SXSW Conference discussion between Jake Tapper and the real Bernie Sanders, comic and expert impressionist, James Adomian (Bernie vs. Trump), will hold a Bernie Sanders Town Hall as the 2016 presidential hopeful. Later in the week he’ll perform his Edinburgh Fringe show, Lacking in Character, a uniquely detached critique of masculinity in our culture and the circus fire of today’s American politics.
The schedule also features a slate of live podcast recordings. Scott Aukerman returns with Comedy Bang! Bang! featuring an all-star lineup of actors and improvisors, and Doug Benson will record his hit game-show podcast, Doug Loves Movies. Renowned film historian Leonard Maltin will lead several interviews with comedic guests, including Bill Hader, for Maltin on Movies, and Dave Anthony will surprise Gareth Reynolds with historical absurdities on their wildly successful podcast, The Dollop. Robin Thede will tape an episode of The Randown — the companion podcast to BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede. Stuart Goldsmith’s podcast, The Comedian’s Comedian, has grown into a giant on the UK comedy scene attracting a who’s who of British comedy. Curious and insightful, he’ll bring his distinct style stateside to interview fellow performers James Davis, Ron White, and others.
In partnership with the SXSW Music Festival, AUDIBLE IMPACT will present a benefit in support of The Ally Coalition, an organization dedicated to LGBTQ equality. Nick Offerman (Hearts Beat Loud at SXSW) will host a special night of music and comedy at ACL LIVE featuring Jim Gaffigan (You Can Choose Your Family at SXSW) and headliners from across the festival.
truTV has long supported SXSW Comedy by creating an inviting green room experience for festival comedians. This year, the network will expand its sponsorship to also bring its distinct, original touch to Esther’s Follies, the beloved Austin theater and SXSW Comedy headquarters, enhancing the festival-going experience with a comedic art installation.
SXSW Film Festival – Comedy Highlights
The Film Festival will feature SXSW Comedy performers in several premieres and special events. Rachel Bloom and Adam Pally produce and star in the comedy-mystery Most Likely to Murder. Stories of fatherhood play out in both Hearts Beat Loud starring Nick Offerman and You Can Choose Your Family starring Jim Gaffigan. The documentary Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes, explores the life and career of Muhammad Ali through his many interviews with Dick Cavett, and Lauren Lapkus stars in The Unicorn. Festival favorite Doug Benson will join Austin’s Master Pancake Theater in lampooning one of the lesser Leprechaun sequels in a live movie-mock-along.
SXSW Conference – Comedy Highlights
Comedy Central will bring a pair of Featured Sessions to SXSW. Real Fake News Never Stops: Convo with The Daily Show, will feature correspondent Roy Wood Jr. and producers from The Daily Show discussing audience engagement through social media. And following a panel discussion, Clusterfest, the network’s San Francisco-based comedy festival, will host a showcase of their past and future performers as part of the SXSW Comedy Festival. Robin Thede will join a conversation on diversity in film awards at the panel #OscarsSoWhite: What’s Next for Entertainment?, and actress and improviser Tatiana Maslany will sit down for the Featured Session, A Conversation with Tatiana Maslany.
Join Us for SXSW 2018
Get your SXSW Badge today to experience these exciting SXSW Comedy events along with 10 days of screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and more this March 9-18 in Austin, TX. Take the Tracks Quiz to discover which badge will suit your needs.
SXSW Comedy participants (l-r) Rachel Bloom, James Adomian – Photo by Mindy Tucker; Beth Stelling – Photo by Mindy Tucker; Jim Gaffigan; Jo Firestone – Photo by Mindy Tucker; and James Davis