Alan Ruck & Mike Birbiglia.

Recapping Alan Ruck & Mike Birbiglia At Moontower Comedy Festival 2024

Photo credit: Rachel Parker.

At the 2024 Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas, there’s been no shortage of fun things to see. With this festival comes an array of different comedy offerings, meaning there’s something special for everyone.

We went out of our way to check out an eclectic lineup of comedy shows while we were in town. All week we’ve been recapping what we saw last weekend. Here’s two more of our favorites. And there’s certainly a lot more fun to be had at Moontower this weekend!

Alan Ruck presenting "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

It didn’t take very long at all for it to feel like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was achieving pop culture status. It’s one of those feel-good films that just manages to sneak its way into the zeitgeist. As a Chicagoland native, I always had a sense of local pride when it came to the film. I would even pass the parking garage on the way to college classes.

But in all those years, I had never seen the film with a crowd. Seeing it at Moontower was like revisiting an old friend. There’s something to be said for comedy films being enhanced by viewing them in a shared environment, too. It just heightens everything, including the comedy. That’s something I really took away from this viewing.

To go along with the screening, Alan Ruck came out after the film for a Q and A. In a lively 45 minute discussion, Ruck talked about how he almost got cast in The Breakfast Club, how he landed the role of Cameron, working with Matthew Broderick, developing the voice for Sloane’s dad, how they pulled off the parade sequence, his favorite deleted scenes, and what he thinks a sequel would look like. His ideal sequel would find Ferris breaking Cameron out of a nursing home for another day of fun. He also touched on Succession, and some of the parallels he sees between the two characters he played.

Mike Birbiglia

We felt it was fitting to pair the film with Mike Birbiglia for this recap. That’s because - of all the comedians we saw over the weekend - Birbiglia is a natural gifted storyteller. We’ve seen this time and time again with his shows, and each one feels like a bigger triumph than the last. Birbiglia had that gift as a storyteller to keep you truly invested from start to finish, so much so that it doesn’t feel like it’s been a full hour by the time he’s done. It’s just effortless.

That was precisely the vibe we got from his show last weekend. The show was completely sold out, comprised of his large fan base, some of whom told me they had seen him many times before. After the opener Garry Simon, Birbiglia came out to an enthusiastic reception. While his last show - The Old Man and the Pool - dealt with mortality, this show was revolved around being a parent.

Some of the topics Birbiglia explored included what a different time it is for parenting versus how he was raised, the emotion of being a parent, realizing how little he actually knows, balancing the calendar to make time for your spouse, how the D.A.R.E program is a double negative (“We dare you NOT to do drugs”), and a parody song he wrote in high school to the tune of Bust a Move (titled Bust Them Drugs).

If you’ve never seen Birbiglia before, you’re in for a treat. There’s no bad way to view a Mike Birbiglia show. However, there is an added energy to seeing him live, and we definitely recommend doing so if he’s near you!

RELATED: Stream & download Mike Birbiglia's comedy album, Thank God For Jokes, on 800 Pound Gorilla!

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