Everyone talks about how when Joe Rogan moved to Austin, everything changed. Well, they’re right. Joe brought a new ecosystem to town and is hard at work helping evolve one of America’s coolest cities into the premier comedy location in America. What’s happening right now is amazing. It’s a moment that belongs on Austin’s highlight reel, just like when people used to talk about Willie Nelson and the Armadillo Headquarters back in the day.
But that’s not the whole story.
One of the biggest players in the rise of the Austin comedy scene is unquestionably Brian Redban. Serving as the co-host of wildly popular podcast Kill Tony, Redban knows the nuances of stand-up – he’s been in the game a long time.
Thanks to the constant exhibition of new talent walking across the stage every Monday night, the panel, consisting of Redban, his co-host Tony Hinchcliffe, and whatever guest or two happens to be in town that week, either praise or roast the living fuck out of anyone brave enough to perform their minute of comedy. If a comic kills, it’s likely Redban will ask them to be a part of his Thursday showcase, the DeathSquad Secret Show, the premier comedy night in town.
Just like all things Pre-Covid in Austin comedy, there was no night like Thursday night at Vulcan Gas Company, full stop. Some of the best comedians in the game have come to perform: Tim Dillon, Andrew Santino, Erik Griffin, Yannis Pappas, Luis Gomez, George Perez, and Annie Lederman, to name just a few. It sounds cliché, but you never know who’s going to jump on stage. If a comic happens to be in town for a meeting, to be on a particular podcast with a huge following, or because they’ve had their headlining gig recently, it would be the prudent move to check out the Secret Show that week because chances are, they’ll get up.
Redban doesn’t just throw comics on stage, instead he builds lineups like an old school baseball manager. Everyone has a place on the roster, there’s purpose to his madness.
The crowds are explosive, there’s a palpable energy to the room each night, that’s unlike any other show in town. The mix of new comics and the battle-tested pros makes for a gumbo that delivers constant new flavors with each performer doing their best to bury whomever went before. Week after week, the buzz regarding the Secret Show grows in a world that needs a drink and a laugh, this killer’s row is the perfect salve.
But the Secret Show isn’t just comedy, well, not anymore. Instead of just a few cold Lone Stars and some laughs, the DeathSquad Secret Show has morphed into a truly Austin experience, with CM Smokehouse serving some of their best BBQ while country-rockers Netherhour has been warming crowds up for a wild night. If there’s any way to kick off your weekend, there’s no question it’s with Redban and his band of merry pranksters. You never know what you’ll see.