While Fallout Theater is focused on local talent, LaRotta says he can see a positive side to Austin’s emerging scene of big-name comics.
“If it makes Austin seem like a big comedy town, I dig it,” he said. “The rising tide lifts all boats.”
The theater, located at 616 Lavaca St., has worn many hats since its inception about 100 years ago. Built underground, the space was once a fallout shelter for the building—hence the name Fallout Theater—before being converted to the printing press for The Texas Observer.
Most recently, the building was run by New Movement Theater, who closed business after receiving several allegations for misconduct. In January 2018, Fallout theater was officially opened by five former New Movement comics who were not involved in the allegations and had a vision to own a club focused on kindness, experimentation, diversity and community.
Fallout Theater hosts nightly shows, many of them “Armando”—a type of improv performance based on a true story from an audience member. In Fallout’s most popular weekly show, “[explicative] This Week,” an audience member shares a difficult moment they had during the week, and Fallout performers create a scene to make light of the bad experience.
“We’re not laughing at the person, but the bizarre things that happened that made that situation [difficult],” said Mason Pitluk, Artistic Director at Fallout Theater.
Many shows at Fallout are experimental, such as the “Laugh Track”, wherein a comic does standup on a treadmill that gets progressively faster throughout the routine.
Fallout Theater also hosts improv and sketch comedy classes for people of all levels.
“Everyone has different things that hold them back: embarrassment, ego, nerves,” said Pitluk. “The beginner classes are focused on getting out of your head.”
Attend a show
- Thursday: "Garage" - A music-inspired improv set by an all female and non-binary cast
- Friday: "Sure Thing" - A classic stand-up comedy show
- Saturday: "Slide in the DMs" - A show based on creepy messages
616 Lavaca St., Austin
Monday: 7:30- 11 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday: 7:30-11:30 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 8:30-11:30 p.m.