In 2005, Joe Parsons moved back to Austin from Boston (rhymes are gross) with a jones to do some sketch comedy. Inspired by all the typical comedy nerd influences, Joe enlisted two of his best improv buddies Ben Bartley and Scott Chester and set out to create a show unique to the Austin comedy scene, one that blended live and video vignettes in the style of Monty Python and Mr. Show (see? typical nerds). STAG! debuted their first show at the Hideout Theatre in January, 2006 (actual date lost to time). Despite a severe ice storm, every seat in the house was full. It didn’t hurt “sales” that they were giving away free beer and charging zero dollars for admission.
(STAG! FACT!*: The group was named by writer/director/author/comedy friend, Owen Egerton.)
Over the next 10 years, the group, now going by STAG Comedy (branding!), continued to produce new shows and videos. They performed at comedy festivals across the United States and once in Canada. They did mini-tours of Texas and the Pacific Northwest. STAG frequently performed at shows, festivals, and venues not known for sketch comedy, trying to grow their audience and y’know, because it was fun. Members came and went, but the group stayed an active and central part of Austin’s sketch comedy scene.
STAG Comedy’s final live show was September 24, 2015 at the Spiderhouse Ballroom. Their final original video was released November 21, 2019.
Over the course of the group’s two decade long (sure why not) run and various line-ups, STAG Comedy was made up of Andrew Rosas, Ben Bartley, Dave Youmans, David Jara, Ed Reed, Joe Parsons, Kate Bojanek, Katie Sicking, Lance Gilstrap, Mac Blake, Sam Malcolm, Scott Chester and Ximena Estrada.
And now, a self-indulgent listing of STAG Comedy’s comedy festival resume.
Austin Sketch Fest
Geek Week Boston
Milwaukee Comedy Festival
Moontower Comedy Festival
Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival
Seattle Sketch Fest
Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival
Dallas Comedy Festival
Frontera Fest (Ask one of us about this show. It was a nightmare.)
The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival
*Notice we didn’t say the fact was fun.