Come And Take It Puts Comedy First, AgainMaria Bamford. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Natalie Brasington
It’s come up several times that Houston’s golden years of stand up are not far behind us, but in fact they are well ahead of us now. With new comedy club The Secret Group leading the charge to put comedy first, the venue will be hosting their well-curated comedy festival Come and Take It inside the confines of their own venue this year. The three-day festival — or four-day if you count the kickoff party — is full of plenty of top notch comedians and hilarious talents like pretty much nothing else in the state of Texas. Sets from names like Rhea Butcher, Maria Bamford, and Dana Gould will all be on hand to make attendees laugh over the course of the festival. FPH takes a look at the highlights of each day including the Thursday kickoff party.
On the Thursday kickoff party, you’ll be greeted with sets from locals Kristin Lindner, Ashton Womack, Andrew Youngblood, Austin’s Jay Whitecotton, and many more. The show will be full of laughs as well as a very special Comedy Central headliner to be announced at the show. This show has tickets between $20 and $25 by itself or included in the festival VIP pass for $129, and the all ages show has doors at 7 pm.
Rhea Butcher. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Artist Website Uncredited
On Friday the highlights include a headlining set from the always funny and a bit off kilter comedy of Joey “Coco” Diaz. Diaz has been all over the place including Comedy Central, he’s appeared in a ton of movies as well as television including IFC’s Maron, and his podcast is pretty damn hilarious. In 2013 he dropped the album called The Blue Album and he doesn’t make it down here very often. There’s also a set from the always funny and chill energy humor of New York’s Todd Barry. Barry has been touring pretty relentlessly over the past five years, his 2016 album The Crowd Work Tour is one of the funniest improvised albums you’ll ever hear, and his podcast The Todd Barry Podcast includes live sets and a crazy list of all sorts of guests. Barry has also been on every late night talk show, he’s been in films like Road Trip, and he’s been featured on shows like Louie and Flight of the Conchords. Of course, the on-the-rise comedy of Rhea Butcher can’t be denied to all who will also be on the Friday show. Butcher has seriously been blowing up as of late, her album Butcher is one of the funniest new comedy albums available, and her show Take My Wife is funny and insightful. Alongside just a few of these headliners are sets from locals like Jaffer Khan, Zahid Dewji, and Slade Ham of The Whiskey Brothers. There also promises to be a performance from Air Sex World Championships and of course the recently successful comedy of Houston’s Matthew Broussard. Broussard has definitely been on the come up lately, he’s touring all over the place, and with a new Comedy Central half hour special and a set on Conan, he can only get bigger from here.
On Saturday you can catch a headlining set from Tim Meadows. You might know Meadows from his nine-year stint on SNL, or more recently from his new show Son of Zorn, or maybe from a slew of Adam Sandler film. As far as his standup, he’s never performed it in Houston, so it should be a real treat to see the star of The Ladies Man behind a mic. Another set from Rhea Butcher will also be on the bill, as well as The Todd Barry Podcast live. You should definitely catch the performance from Baron Vaughn. Vaughn is best known for his role on the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, however his new album Blaxistential Crisis is pretty damn hilarious. The same could be said about smart comic, producer, and writer Dana Gould. A former writer for The Simpsons, Gould has an amazing podcast called The Dana Gould Hour Podcast, he’s been all over TV including Conan, and his new show Stan Against Evil is the funniest horror-themed show you’ll see today. Killer Mic co-host and LA comic Vanessa Gritton will also bring plenty of laughs as well as the comedy of Seattle’s Nick Thune. You’ll know Thune from his new Netflix comedy special Folk Hero as well as funny slots on The Tonight Show and Conan. The day will also have the Kill Tony Podcast live, Canada’s hilarious Sabrina Jalees, and the storytelling comedy of San Francisco’s Lydia Popovich. Make sure and catch the edgy comedy of Heather Turman, the always funny jokes of Houston’s Son Tran, and the smart humor of Austin’s Maggie Maye. Saturday will also have a bunch of local comics including the irreverent humor of Stephen Brandau.
Har Mar Superstar. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Rickett & Sones
On Sunday you won’t want to miss the nonstop and self-deprecating laughs of Maria Bamford. Aside from possibly being the funniest guest to appear on Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, Bamford has been on a roll for the past five years with appearances across the globe as well as stints on Kroll Show and Louie. Her new album, this year’s 20%, is her best to date and her sets are always a mix of new and your favorite material. You should also check out Portland’s Morgan Murphy of Comedians of Comedy fame. Aside from her strengths as a comic, her 2014 WTF with Marc Maron episode is one of the more memorable ones as well as her years as a writer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and 2 Broke Girls. Nashville’s Billy Wayne Davis will also add plenty of laughs, while New York’s Annie Lederman will definitely bring the crowd to their knees after they catch her set. Josh Adam Meyers’ will host his The Goddamn Comedy Jam which should shake things up, and some of Houston’s best comics like Original Texas Outlaw Comic, Andy Huggins who will also perform. There will also be sets from Bob Biggerstaff, Reed Becker, Theo Taylor, Gabe Bravo, Adam Bob, and many many more comics to help close out the final day. The R&B smooth swagger jams of Minnesota’s Har Mar Superstar will close out the festival. While he’s known for stripping down to his tighty whities during his high energy live sets, his 2013 album Bye Bye 17 was one of the best records to drop that year. This year, he returned with the eighties inspired chillwave pop jams of Best Summer Ever which has not only redefined his sound but given him a more diverse live show.
This could easily be one of the most diverse and fully fleshed out comedy festivals going right now in the US, and definitely here in Texas. By putting comedy first and adding top notch talent, Come and Take It stands to be one of the best comedy festivals going while putting Houston back on track to regain its comedy title. You can catch all of these acts when the festival begins on Thursday, November 17 at the festival kickoff party. The all ages event taking place at The Secret Group has tickets between $20 and $35 for single day tickets, or $79 and $129 for multiple day passes. The $129 is a VIP option that includes a swag bag, a festival T-shirt, and premium seating tickets to all four days of the festival.