Review: Austin Kress’ standup is much better than his ‘Stoney McBlaze’ routine

The Vail Comedy Show hosted a hilarious event on Wednesday, with five comedians taking the stage at Moe’s Original BBQ in Eagle.

Erica Rhodes was the headliner, using Moe’s itself and the mountains surrounding Eagle as sources of material.

“I’m turning into a mountain girl, I like looking at them,” she said. “They’re always there.”

Identifying young people in the crowd, Rhodes asked how old they were, learning that one of the attendees was 18.

“You’re 18, oh my god,” she said. “I guess anyone can come into a barbecue restaurant.”

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Erica Rhodes performs on stage at Moe’s Original BBQ in Eagle on Wednesday. Rhodes headlined the event, which was put on by the Vail Comedy Show.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Following a brief intro from Vail Comedy Show founder Mark Masters, the first comedian to take the stage was Austin Kress, a stand-up comedian who found a massive online following through a character he created known as “Stoney McBlaze.”

The Stoney McBlaze persona is that of a “shred lord” who comments on ski/snowboarding clips online while high on marijuana, often making observations that make him look dull-witted and foolish.

In one especially cringy post titled “Snowboarding tip for beginners,” Stoney McBlaze is stationed near a ski rack, telling viewers “they’ve got all these free boards just hanging out, and you can just pick whichever one is the right size for you and take it.”

The premise of the Stoney McBlaze routine is that skiers and snowboarders smoke a lot of marijuana, and are therefore slow and stupid, borrowing from tropes like those used in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” or “Dazed and Confused.”

In ski and snowboard culture Stoney found a receptive audience, but his bits were always missing one thing to validate him as a self-proclaimed “shred lord”: Clips of him actually shredding.

It was later revealed that Stoney can not, in fact, shred, and is therefore a chief villain among ski/snowboard culture. In short, Stoney McBlaze is a poser, not laughing with ski/snowboard culture as an active participant, but rather laughing at it as an outsider.

This revelation reached peak exposure during the X Games this year, when skate/snowboard legend Todd Richards called out event organizers for inviting social media influencers like Stoney, who never put in the time to learn the fundamentals of board sports, or suffered through the menial jobs that allow true “shred lords” to make it a ski town.

Austin Kress performs stand-up comedy Wednesday in Eagle as part of a Vail Comedy Show event. The Vail Comedy Show will return to Eagle on August 9.
Courtesy photo/Mark Masters

On the Bomb Hole podcast Feb. 6, Richards described Stoney as “some dude whose whole shtick is to pretend he’s … stoned.”

But if that’s what you were expecting to see at Kress’ standup performance on Wednesday, you may have been pleasantly surprised to hear something different in Eagle. Kress did not delve very deep into the Stoney McBlaze persona, instead performing a classic stand-up routine which proved that while he might lack a riding pedigree, he doesn’t lack in his writing.

Kress started his act with something Coloradans love — making fun of Texans.

“Texas pretends to be this state where it’s all about freedom, and you can do whatever you want, but then you get there and there’s a bunch of rules,” he said. “Colorado’s great because you have legal guns and legal mushrooms. And better barbecue than Texas.”

Kress did his homework, realizing that the Vail subculture is rich with riff-able material.

“My buddy that’s a ski lift operator tried to unionize and they fired him,” Kress said.

Referencing the price of swim shorts at one Vail shop, Kress said “I need to get back to LA where things are affordable.”

Kress used street buskers to further explore the contrast between Vail and Los Angeles.

“You’ll see musicians playing a ukulele, or people juggling, or a person painted all in gold who only moves if you try to pay him or steal his money,” he said. “Not in Vail. In Vail there are divorce attorneys out there busking. … There’s real estate agents with just their pictures like ‘you guys want to buy a condo?'”

One of the best jokes from Kress proved that he doesn’t need the dumb-guy persona to make it in stand-up, showing that he’s a well-informed comic with quick wits and a talent for ad-libbing with the audience. With Colorado’s mining history as a backdrop, Kress began making a joke about how the metal in his old Subaru is probably worth a few hundred dollars, noticing that one audience member agreed with the assessment.

“Do you own a mining company, sir? You look like a CEO,” Kress said. “If you get an email inviting you to go on a submarine, don’t respond.”

The Vail Comedy Show will return Moe’s Original Barbecue in Eagle on August 9, with Nathan Macintosh as the headliner. For more information visit

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