Oddball Comedy Festival brings laughs, tears, truth

On Saturday night, stars Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari killed the mic at Oddball Comedy Festival.

Oddball, presented by Funny or Die, is hosted annually at the Austin 360 Amphitheater.

The other talented comedians who performed at Oddball include Bridget Everett, Anthony Jeselnik, Jak Knight, Ashley Barnhill, Jeff Ross, Nick Thune, Stephen Rannazzisi and T.J. Miller.

Both Schumer and Ansari’s sets mainly encompassed sexual humor. The highlight of Amy’s set was her description of different sex positions. She even learned one from an audience member called “the blind pirate,” and, as a dedicated comedian, acted it out on stage, holding her eye and hopping on one foot.

Schumer’s set included material from her HBO special “Live at the Apollo.” Some view Schumer as unnecessarily vulgar while others believe she is a revolutionary feminist.

Schumer notes that she is often labeled a “sex comic” in the industry and attributes the label to her gender. She claims that men who tell dirtier jokes than her have never been labeled sex comics in the past.

Vulgar or not, Schumer makes a good point about different gender standards within the comedy genre.

Ansari differentiates himself from other male comics by explicitly talking about female issues. One of his extended jokes at Oddball focused on the difficulty of a female orgasm. Ansari might be able to pull off his raunchy jokes because of his hilarious, child-like, whiney voice he assumes when delivering punch lines.

Another major theme in his set was his Indian heritage. He joked about hiding his bacon-filled diet from his strict, Kosher-obsessed parents, going so far as to use his girlfriend as a scapegoat.

“But moooom, daaaaaad, she makes me eat bacon every morning!” Ansari said.

While hilariously blaming his girlfriend for his own behavior, Ansari touches on the issue of culture clashes and generational gaps.

What makes Schumer and Ansari extraordinarily brilliant is their ability to make people laugh while revealing a poignant truth about a social issue.

Although not a headliner, comedian Bridget Everett stole the show with a more physical type of comedy. Her performance could be classified as a strip dance or simply a devoted Miley Cyrus tribute.

Everett entertained the audience with catchy pop tunes like her debut song “Titties” and shocked thousands with her lack of personal boundaries.

Spoiler alert: during her grand finale, she slowly lowers herself into a sitting position on an innocent audience members face on stage while passionately belting Cyrus’s “The Climb.”

When Everett gave a teenage boy in the front row the pet name “Cookie” and claimed she was coming for him later, the frightened teenager stood up and ran in the other direction.

Later on that night during Anthony Jeselnik’s set, the camera revealed that Cookie was back in his seat. Interrupting Anthony in the middle of a joke, the whole stadium roared with laughter and chanted “Cookie, Cookie, Cookie!”

Jeselnik was forced to think quickly on his feet in response to what the audience deemed funny. He then demanded security publicly remove the innocent audience member.

“Bring him to my dressing room,” Jeselnik said.

This just goes to show that so much of live comedy is improvisation. Audiences respond well to being actively engaged in the comedian’s performance.

There is something beautifully human about thousands of people coming together to laugh until their cheeks hurt and eyes water.

Oddball Comedy Fest has spiced up Austin’s comedy scene and has successfully brought a stadium of people to laugh-tears.

Oddball’s appearance at Austin 360 within recent years proves that Austin’s expansion isn’t the end of an era. Population growth encourages culture growth.

Small town residents would never have the opportunity to watch some of the best comics in the industry perform in their hometown. How lucky are we Austinites to experience the best of both worlds?

Thanks to the unique comics that performed, Oddball Comedy Festival contributed to keeping Austin weird this year.