What is Esthers?
6th Street- the source of Esther's humor and unwitting backdrop for its stage- will always define Esther's distinct comedic blend of magic, music, and comedy. We’ve been called the Texas answer to SNL--a modern-day vaudeville revue mixed with political comedy that is like nothing else on the national comedy scene. Esther’s history stretches back 40 years.
In the spring of 1977, 6th Street was a culturally diverse neighborhood whose nighttime residents were primarily artists and transients. During this time, in the middle of 6th Street's 500th block, Michael Shelton and Shannon Sedwick, who already operated Austin's famed Liberty Lunch, leased an old, narrow bar at 515 E. 6th (now the Flamingo Cantina), throwing their first party on April Fool's Day. This turned into an improvisational free-for-all of fun with singers, poets, dancers, mimes, musicians, and comics coming in off the street to create and ended with dances around a lawn sprinkler in a campy tribute to aquatic-choreographer Esther Williams.
What exactly is it, that has made the magical world of Esther's Follies so unique? The peculiar interaction between stage and street has been a Follies hallmark since the beginning. With 6th Street still dimly sinister after dark, the windows provide safe haven between numbers to watch the steady parade of Sixth Street denizens, and revelers wander by. Esther’s is an equal opportunity satirical revue—fond of skewering both political parties and using the absurd in politics and pop culture as a foundation for their sketches. The end result is a smartly funny, unifying experience for a politically diverse audience, where everyone laughs under one roof.