America’s Got Talent Takes The Stage at Moontower Comedy Festival
April 20, 2023 |
By Dani Dudek
America's Got Talent at Moontower

Many famous funny guys and gals took part in this year’s Moontower Just For Laughs Festival in Austin. Headliners included Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Jenny Slate, Ben Schwartz, Leslie Jones and Chelcie Lynn. But that’s not all. From relative unknowns to niche fan bases, the lineup includes hundreds of comedians, including a few whom you might recognize from America’s Got Talent.

Howie Mandel may have been the main act at the Paramount on Wednesday night, but I found the two openers much more entertaining. Both comedians competed on AGT.

America’s Got Talent finalists opened the show.

Mike E. Winfield kicked off the evening. He didn’t quite make the top 5 on his season of “Talent,” but he did return for the All-Stars season. Again, he finished just shy of the top 5. It was clear he knew his Moontower audience as his act included many “older mom” jokes. He performed an entire bit about breast milk – yep, breast milk. And, believe it or not, he had the entire audience roaring with laughter. Other topics included The Little Mermaid (new, not old), Black Panther, AKA White Panther (“Wisconsin forever!”) and a reference to Screech and Lisa of Saved By The Bell fame. Like I said, he knew his audience and I for one really appreciated that.

Next up was Preacher Lawson who also didn’t make the top 5 on his first season on AGT, but finished fifth on America’s Got Talent: The Champions. I liked his act as well, though not as much as I liked Winfield. It felt like his set was the same as he would usually perform and not quite as catered to the older Howie audience. He did take a stab at Austin though. The crowd cheered when he said this was his second time in the ATX but he quickly replied, “Don’t cheer. I didn’t say I like it.”

He explained that he lives in LA where there are a lot of homeless people. This was followed by the question, “You trying to battle LA for the most homeless people?” Ouch. I mean, the joke is relatable but still… ouch.

Howie Mandel was the headliner!

Finally, it was time for Howie, who stepped onto the stage proudly sporting a Moontower Festival staff shirt. If it wasn’t obvious who his fan base is by simply looking around, his material made it even more obvious. There were mentions of Monistat, Spanx, the Hindenburg, Cologuard and menopause. Some of it was funny. Most of it wasn’t really. His off the cuff stuff where he played off of the audience was the highlight for me. But the low was definitely when he joked about how only women get to a point in life where they don’t want to have sex. He even referenced the “I have a headache” line which had me questioning, what freaking year is this?

Near the end of his set, Mandel said the most amazing part about his job on America’s Got Talent is seeing comedians like the opening acts for first time. I too was grateful to see the opening acts as they were the best part of the evening.

Moontower Just For Laughs Comedy Festival is held each April in Austin, Texas.

PS, Austin is becoming the new mecca for comedy. Check out all the comedians who live in Austin!

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