Comedy Festivals SXSW TV

SXSW 2019: “Busy Tonight” Stopped by Rainey Street for All of the Activations

Busy Philipps made a splash in the late ’90s and early 2000s with her roles as Kim Kelly on “Freaks and Geeks” and Audrey Liddell on “Dawson’s Creek.” She’s had steady work since then too, especially on TV — think “ER,” “Cougar Town” and “Vice Principals.”

But Philipps is also so funny in real life that she made a name for herself with Instagram Stories…which led her to hosting her own late-night show (“Busy Tonight”) on E! in 2018. As you might expect from a late-night comedy show, each episode features celebrity guests, topical jokes and other segments.

Busy Philipps hosting “Busy Tonight” at SXSW
Photo Credit: Jackie Ruth

In 2019, she brought “Busy Tonight” to Austin for SXSW. More specifically, she brought the show to Container Bar on Rainey Street, which turned into Comcast NBCUniversal House for the week. And you bet she brought jokes! There was a lot of talk of the ‘activations’ you’ll find all over Texas’s capital city during SXSW, as well as one of the city’s signature foods: queso.

In fact, Philipps joked that she had people asking where she was getting work done because her fillers looked amazing; according to her, it was just queso bloat. And of course someone delivered chips and queso to her while she was onstage, which she so generously gave to the audience after a taste.

Her first guest was actor and comedian Nick Kroll, from Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show,” FX’s “The League” and the animated Netflix series “Big Mouth.” The two had a great rapport as they talked about attending SXSW, with Kroll making Philipps and the audience laugh multiple times.

Busy Philipps and Nick Kroll at SXSW
Photo Credit: Jackie Ruth

But then Philipps got very excited, as she exclaimed “The pigs are here!” Central Texas Pig Rescue, located near Austin, brought two of their pigs out for the show. One of them, a small pig named Joe, was brought to the rescue by actress and comedian Whitney Cummings — a friend of Philipps’ — at the very beginning of 2019.

The celebrities and audience fawned over the pigs, who were eating animal crackers, and the pig rescuers answered questions. But Philipps made sure to let everyone know that ‘mini pigs’ are a myth, advocating for proper research and care for pet pigs.

Busy Philipps and Nick Kroll meet the pigs
Photo Credit: Jackie Ruth

Shortly after the pigs left, Philipps welcomed her second guest. It was none other than Retta, from “Parks and Recreation” and “Good Girls.” She was dressed to impress in bright pink and yellow as she joined Philipps and Kroll onstage.

The three joked around and played a game of ‘Man Meat,’ a segment in which Philipps names a celebrity and her guests try to figure out what kind or cut of meat that man would be. For SXSW, it was a special edition focused on Texas men, including Matthew McConaughey (a lean cut), Travis Scott (BBQ ribs) and Willie Nelson (jerky).

Busy Philipps, Retta and Nick Kroll play ‘Man Meat’ at SXSW
Photo Credit: Jackie Ruth

Retta stuck around after Kroll left to speak on the latest season of NBC sitcom “Good Girls.” Philipps is a big fan of the show and complimented the friendship and chemistry between the three main actresses; Retta stars alongside Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) and Mae Whitman (“Parenthood”).

The show was so fun to watch live because of the stars’ energy and willingness to interact with the audience. If you ever get a chance to see “Busy Tonight” live, don’t skip it.

Featured image credit: Jackie Ruth

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