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Trill Comedy Festival gets Houston laughing again

Photo Courtesy of Station Theater
Photo Courtesy of Station Theater
Photo Courtesy of Station Theater

Last night, Station Theater kicked off their Second Annual Trill Comedy Festival. The laughs started at 5:30 and went deep into the night. Opening night alone had more than a hand full of performers and each night this weekend offers new and different talents.

Although Station Theater is known for their improv, the festival offers a variety of comedy from stand up to variety shows. Opening night was no different, I was given the chance to see eight of the night’s performers, which had a host of intriguing and laugh filled comedy.

Each night offers four different shows at varying times starting at 5:30 pm and running to the last show that starts at 10 pm. Audiences are in for a treat with each one an hour and a half show having four performers of varying comedy styles. Opening night offered four shows that showcased the range of the festival with stand up, improv and sketch.

The 7 pm show contained comedy from Stephen Linings Kingbook, It’s Not You It’s Me, Watson and Watson and Pass the Mic. The first act was Stephen Linings Kingbook where two performers Stephanie Fisher and Matt Gawloski dissect pop culture while invoking chills. Matt offers an intense and engrossing energy as he takes to stage explaining the act and asks for suggestions. Stephanie is a lighter, more controlled improviser, which makes the pair work perfectly together creating a show filled with laughs and shudders.

It’s Not You It’s Me by Brenda Valdivia was next. Valdivia is a serious performer that skillfully wears multiple hats. The performance showcases her as a one woman show, as last night, she took us through a story of a woman dreaming of owning a dog park and the banker who must decide to give or not to give a loan. Valdivia evokes audience’s emotions as she presents both comedy and drama throughout her act.

Watson and Watson took the stage next to improvise the perfect murder mystery comedy. David Toscano & Antoine Culbreath are a perfect comedy duo. A “murder” happens then the duo become Watson and Watson to solve the case in of course the funniest way possible. Both men have commanding stage presence and transition from serious, intense characters to light, silly characters flawlessly. Seeing this pair perform was a highlight of the night.

Pass the Mic was the last act to perform during the 7 pm hour. This act comes from Austin, TX and highlights stand-up comics, in this case from both Austin and Houston. They perform a brief act individually then all of the comedians are brought back up on stage to popcorn between performers based on a suggestion from the audience or last night from their Twitter feed. All of the comedians last night offered laughs and great one-liners. The group was as great closing act to mix stand-up and improv to leave the audience laughing as they prepared for another show or headed home for the night.

The theater quickly transitioned to prepare for the next show. If you are staying for each performance for the night, after a show has completed you will need to move out and then reenter right before the next show begins. The next hour and a half had another good mix of improv and stand-up. The next show contained performances by Phortasics, Padded Cell (a familiar favorite), Christina Parrish and Nice Astronaut.

Phortasics opened the third show of night. These are an energetic and lively nine person improvisational group. All of these performers are young and energetic and help keep the performance dynamic and engaging. Padded Cell, which includes David Toscano, Matt Gawloski & Steven Saltsman (Conservatory Manager) followed. Padded Cell offers a zany mix of humor and intellect in each of their performances. No matter what you might expect these guys always deliver the laughs.

Switching it up a bit, Christina Parrish took the stage doing stand-up comedy. She hails from Austin, TX with an offbeat sense of humor. She seems to be an acquired taste, with risqué subject matter and a very somber stage presence. She is either a funny talent or a slightly mad comedian. Nice Astronaut took the stage to end the performances for the 8 pm show. Another comedy group from Austin that was both fun and refreshing. Improvisers that started in typical fashion a suggestion from the audience then off to get the laughs going.

Overall, an opening night success filled with a variety of talent and that is only the beginning for Trill Comedy Festival. For more information about the festival, visit Station Theaters website or check them out socially on Facebook. The Festival runs through Saturday, May 24 with individual tickets costing $10 or find out how to get a festival pass for admission to all remaining shows. Be sure to browse around Station Theaters site and check out upcoming shows or find out information about upcoming classes and workshops.

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