This Saturday, March 28, Kyle Kinane, Ron Funches, Kurt Braunohler and more are doing a show in Athens, Georgia. We’ve got a couple of pairs of tickets to give away, and you can jump down to the bottom of this page if you want to see how to enter. If you’re wondering why these three comedians are doing a show together, when they could probably all headline in Athens on their own, keep reading, and then learn how to enter to win a couple of tickets.
So for the last few years the Slingshot Festival has brought some of the best indie rock, electronic and experimental music to Athens, Georgia. Slingshot isn’t just about music, though. Sure, big timers like James Murphy, Washed Out and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler are doing DJ sets, and Jamie XX, Prince Rama, Reptar and more are playing shows. It’s a multidisciplinary jam, though, with an exhibit of electronic and interactive art, a short film festival, and, since last year, a comedy night.
Kinane headlines the comedy show this year, returning to the town where he shot his latest Comedy Central special. Supporting him are Paste favorites Funches (from NBC’s Undateable) and Braunohler (well known for his skywriting pranks and regular appearances on @Midnight). Chunklet impresario and well-known heckler Henry Owings hosts the show, which also features the up-and-coming stand-up comedian Chad Cosby. The whole thing happens at the Morton Theater in Athens on Saturday, March 28.
We talked to Peter Wiley, a Slingshot organizer who curated the comedy night along with Ryan McManemin of the comedy record label ASpecialThing Records, about comedy, Slingshot and why Athens is a great town for both.
Paste: So Athens has a strong musical history, but not much of a rep as a big comedy town. Why is it important for Slingshot to have a comedy night?
Peter Wiley: Everything in Athens seems to be music related, it effortlessly winds it way into everything in this town, so much so that, to Athenians, music can seem like water or oxygen. I think, unlike music, comedy has this discordant, almost disruptive vibe to it. So in a way, comedy to a music town like Athens, or to a festival like Slingshot, is a necessary counterpoint to the music programming. I work in the music business and so music comes fairly easy to me, but the comedy world does not and over the last few years I, as I believe many people in this country have, have come to love what the comedy community is doing. Podcasts, playing outside of traditional comedy clubs (like Athens’ 40 Watt), stand-up shows at music festivals, all of this has culminated in a new comedy infrastructure. An infrastructure created by the efforts of comedians, with little outside help from established companies or industry. And so now, fans coming to festivals have come to expect the comedy show, which is cool.
Paste: Last year was the first comedy night at Slingshot. How did it go?
Wiley: Amazing! I had befriended Ryan McManemin of aspecialthing records through my previous job. I was enamored at how aspecialthing had, largely under the radar, become the indie comedy label in this country. I wanted comedy to be a part of Slingshot and as previously mentioned, knowing it’s not something that comes naturally to me and not wanting to trust my own instincts, reached out to Ryan to help create Slingshot Comedy. He hooked us up with Doug Benson and Jonah Ray, two comedians I was sure were out of our humble reach (and probably were). The show was fantastic, we had Atlanta comedian Josh Harris open the show, and then Doug and Jonah basically hung out with everybody at the festival for two days. That is another part of this new comedy world we’re in, in my experience: the comedians show up early to see certain bands, take pictures with fans and basically hang out. It all feels very natural. After the comedy show we’ll have a meet and greet at The Manhattan, everyone’s favorite bar in Athens, and then walk to a venue to watch a band we’re all excited about. It’s just this big hang out session.
Paste: When it comes to booking a show like this, how crucial is Athens as a draw? I know Kinane talked about how much he loved Athens when I interviewed him a few months ago.
Wiley: That’s the thing, people, correctly, talk about Athens as a music town, but it has become this huge comedy town. Perhaps because it fits well within the Athens slacker mosaic of erudite, creative, sarcastic and somehow passively ambitious artists. Like, “comedy is truth” and all that shit. “Yeah, but can we mix in some metaphors, pop culture references, and make fun of that record you bought at Wuxtry that one time?”
Paste: There are a few Athens bands playing Slingshot, but no local comedians are billed for the comedy night. Why wasn’t that a priority for y’all?
Wiley: We have Chad Cosbyy opening the show, who is a Southern boy, and we have Henry Owings from Chunklet Magazine MCing the event. Honestly, I think most of us would cringe if Slingshot became known as an “Athens festival.” That is no slight on Athens, it’s an amazing town that way over indexes in talent. I just want to create, to the best of my ability, a festival that I personally want to go and hang out at. So, to that end, we want to fix our gaze outward. The rest of the year we can revel in our embarrassment of riches when it comes to local bands and artists.
To enter to win two tickets to Slingshot Comedy, write to us on Twitter @Paste_Comedy and tell us why you want to see the show. Two winners will be picked at random at 10 AM on Friday, 3/27, and notified via Twitter, with an email to follow. Tickets will be available at the Morton Theater in Athens the night of the show. Winners are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses.