SXSW ‘Standup Downtown Comedy Showcase’ offers hearty laughs, night of fun

Zoe Tzanis, Life and Arts Editor

Laughter is nature’s best medicine but only when done well. SXSW’s 2022 comedy festival endeavors to do just that — showcase comics whose hysterical jokes put audiences at ease, healing their age-old woes with a good chuckle. 

Eager to get in on the fun, The Daily Texan set out for a night of laughs at the historic Esther’s Follies’ “Standup Downtown Comedy Showcase” on March 14. Seeking some good laughs and a deeper understanding of today’s comedy scene, the Texan reviewed the performers with an eye to their onstage energy, audience engagement and overall funniness.  

Shane Torres — 5/5

First up, Torres rocked off the night with a surprisingly funny bit about bagels, the only type of food where the deluxe version — an everything — costs as much as the regular.  Then, without a pause, he tore into some of the most obscene and sexual content of the night. 

His energy — up and down, crude and lighthearted — ignited the crowd, resulting in roars, hoots and hollers. A Texan himself, Torres connected uniquely with the crowd, offering a fresh and light opener to reel fans in. Whether racy, raunchy or bagel-based, Torres’s jokes kept the audience loud and embracing, a testament to his pure onstage passion. 

 

Sean Patton — 3/5

Dynamic and full of sexual innuendos, Patton picked up right where Torres left off. Connecting with the crowd over Louisiana and Texas stereotypes, he drew the audience in immediately.   

The raunchiest comedian of the night, most of Patton’s material can’t be described in any accuracy without using incredibly vulgar language. However, he kept the audience engaged, and his jokes remained humourous. Sometimes, though, Patton got a little too loud, and screaming did not in fact make any of his jokes any funnier. 

 

Doug Benson — 2/5

Benson took the stage slowly, dragging a chair and a drink behind him. His jokes mirrored this almost dilapidated, leisurely pace, and he spent most of his set talking about movie titles. The content itself wasn’t comical, but Benson himself — the way he flopped his arms and slurred his words — was. 

Known for his popular comedy podcasts, such as “Doug loves Movies” and “Getting Doug with High,” Benson redeemed himself in his final moments by reading out a list of absolutely rib-tickling and relatable one-liners he wrote while quarantined in 2020, the best of which included, “First rule of fart club is don’t talk about fart club” and “Guys with beards don’t need dogs. They have beards.” 

 

Dulcé Sloan — 5/5

A true repository of laughter, Sloan didn’t waste a second before diving into her hilariously authentic routine. She brought the crowd through the ups and downs of her solo vacation at a couples-only resort in Turks and Caicos, her raunchy New Year’s resolutions and the woes of being a working woman with money. By the end, Sloan had the audience on their knees.

A long-time correspondent on Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show,” Sloan oozed self-confidence, and her comedy followed suit. Her jokes were some of the night’s best. 

 

Scott Thompson — 1/5

 As the closer, this comedy veteran, known for his work with comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, took the stage with big shoes to fill. Thompson should’ve brought the audience together in one final, bombastic guffaw. He didn’t.

Instead, playing on political correctness and the oversensitivity of modern generations, Thompson came off as simply uninformed. For the majority of his time, he listed off words “we can no longer say on TV.” What could’ve been a fantastic last hurrah was instead a dry and uncomfortable set from an out-of-touch old-timer.