Keep Austin Artsy Feature: Austin Variety Show

Ed. Note: Our roving reporter, Ross Scarano interviews Austin Variety Shows co- founder, Troy Dillinger, about the latest hot event to hit the Austin Arts scene, The Austin Variety Show. After attending last months Austin Variety Show, eating amazing food, drinking free drinks and getting some special gifts from “Santa Claus,” I was hooked. Not to mention the actual show, packed crowd, amazing entertainment, or feel of connectedness among an audience of strangers. If you haven’t been, It comes highly recommended. Its silly fun, but hey, we all need some of that in our lives.– S. Gidseg


From humble beginnings, the Austin Variety Show has become one of those Austin-specific events that keeps our city unique and, of course, weird. Not only weird – televised, too. As of January 10th, the Austin Variety Show is now a publicly aired event thanks to the good people at KBVO-TV. I spoke with the Variety Show’s co- creator and MC Troy Dillinger to get the lowdown on AVS.

Ross Scarano: So what is the Austin Variety Show?

Troy Dillinger: It’s a live event that’s filmed to be a television show. It’s old-style, almost vaudville, where there’s music, comedians, audience participation games, burlesque, free food and drinks – it’s a whole night for just ten bucks.

RS: How did it start?

TD: I used to do a live fan event for [Cartoon Network’s] Adult Swim. We’d get together with a band, and we’d project Adult Swim on a big screen every Sunday night. We had so much fun that we added a comedian, then we gave away prizes from local businesses, then that turned into a game show – next thing you know people were more interested in the two hours of entertainment before Adult Swim than they were in Adult Swim. So that part got kicked to the curb, and we’ve just been doing the live event, the variety show.

RS: I’m familiar with Adult Swim, and I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that it has a very specific brand of humor – does the Variety Show have a similar sensibility?

TD: If you like Adult Swim, you’ll like what we do, but we lean a little more towards dirty jokes and fart jokes than the you’re-not-cool-enough-to-get-this type humor that Adult Swim is known for. We want everybody to get the joke.

RS: How did AVS become a television show?

TD: Well, if anybody was still putting stuff like this on the air, I wouldn’t need to do it, but nobody is. I grew up watching things like the variety show on TV, and it was such an amazing experience for me as a kid that putting AVS on the air seemed like the next logical step. You know, we had everything already in place but the cameras.

RS: What can people expect from this Saturday’s show?

TD: They can expect the most fun that they’ve had in quite some time. I know that sounds like a pretty bold statement, but we’ll back it up.

The Austin Variety Show. January 16, 2010. Order tickets now.

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About nowplayingaustin

The Austin Creative Alliance is a nonprofit performing arts service organization working to cultivate an environment where the performing arts can grow and flourish. We serve over 130 arts organizations with marketing, ticketing, audience development services; AEA paymaster, information & referral services — plus access to affordable health, liability, and event insurance. We also provide online professional development seminars, fiscal sponsorship services for emerging arts groups, host annual unified general auditions, annual theatre industry awards, and consistently advocate for the many benefits the arts bring to our quality of life.

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