Esther's Follies

Written by
Ryan Turner

Esther's Follies

As told by
Yarr!
Austin's answer to Saturday Night Live.
Price:
$$
Best time of day:
Nighttime

What everyone knows

For over 40 years, Esther’s Follies in Austin Texas has been entertaining sold-out audiences with political satire, comedy sketches, Vegas- style magic and hilarious musical numbers. Esther’s has been hailed as “Austin’s answer to Saturday Night Live”,

What they don't tell you

These original buildings on 6th street are incredibly narrow and this one is no different. The backdrop of the stage is actually the front-window. Rather than brick over it (which their landlord wouldn't have allowed) they incorporated the window into the performance even using the front doors to perform in the street for portions of the show. If the forth wall is engaging the audience. Engaging the street passerby's has to be the 5th wall.

Do it like a local

Get reservations early as it sells out. Then get there early as seats are on a first come, first serve basis. Don't plan on taking your conservative in-laws here - unless you're that kinda person - in which case. Totally take your conservative in-laws here!

For the History Buffs

"6th Street- the source of Esther's humor and unwitting backdrop for its stage- will always define Esther's distinct comedic blend of magic, music, and comedy. We’ve been called the Texas answer to SNL--a modern-day vaudeville revue mixed with political comedy that is like nothing else on the national comedy scene. Esther’s history stretches back 40 years. ​ In the spring of 1977, 6th Street was a culturally diverse neighborhood whose nighttime residents were primarily artists and transients. During this time, in the middle of 6th Street's 500th block, Michael Shelton and Shannon Sedwick, who already operated Austin's famed Liberty Lunch, leased an old, narrow bar at 515 E. 6th (now the Flamingo Cantina), throwing their first party on April Fool's Day. This turned into an improvisational free-for-all of fun with singers, poets, dancers, mimes, musicians, and comics coming in off the street to create and ended with dances around a lawn sprinkler in a campy tribute to aquatic-choreographer Esther Williams. ​ What exactly is it, that has made the magical world of Esther's Follies so unique? The peculiar interaction between stage and street has been a Follies hallmark since the beginning. With 6th Street still dimly sinister after dark, the windows provide safe haven between numbers to watch the steady parade of Sixth Street denizens, and revelers wander by. Esther’s is an equal opportunity satirical revue—fond of skewering both political parties and using the absurd in politics and pop culture as a foundation for their sketches. The end result is a smartly funny, unifying experience for a politically diverse audience, where everyone laughs under one roof."
more deets here

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