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« 2007: The Year of The Kirkman | Main | That's Sketchtastic! »
Wednesday
Jan312007

Show Recap: Comedy Death Ray, 1.30.07

CDR 1.30.07Note: As a warning, the following recap was written solely from memory. As such, factual inaccuracies are not only expected, but we'd be surprised if we got anything right.

Host Nick Kroll opened up the night with some crowd work regarding obtrusive earrings and a Steve Perry-looking, front-row-Indian-style-sitting unemployed actor named Sean. He went on to explain how dumb people are better at fucking than smart folk, told the story of an old Jew-hating Polish lady, and brought down the house with his improvised interpretation of shitty spoken word poetry.

Next up with Tom Rhodes, a classic set-up-punchline joketeller. We were skeptical at first of Rhodes because he came out with an almost Dice-esque hardass attitude, but he slowly, and surely, won us and most of the audience over with a story about his gays-in-the-military hating brother and his brief but disappointing rendevoux with Tom Waits.

The Bammer was next and started with a bunch of new stuff, maybe as a preview of her new CD. After working on a fantastic new comedy persona she wants to use in smaller, more rural, Larry the Cable Guy-friendly clubs, Maria went into some classic material about meeting her high school nemesis at the check-out line and talking to her hand-puppet God. The highlight for us, though, was watching the woman sitting across from us, eatin' up everything The Bammer was dishin' out. Not only were there visible tears streaming down her face for most of the set, but whenever Maria started an odd premise, her face contorted in a "I can't believe she said that" face. A small thing for sure, but it really made our night.

Mary Lynn Rajskub was the second-half of the quirkily POV'd females, although her style was much more stream-of-consciousness than The Bammer. Her usual brand of tangental rants, annoyance with specific crowd members, stories from her celebrity life and general stage-fidgeting was on full display. Towards the end of the set, she used a fantastic phrase to relay her feelings of Golden Globe-related anxiety to heavyweight Hollywood producer Brian Grazer, (does anyone remember the phrase?) and the audience went into hysterics. For some reason, MLR thought the audience was simply laughing at the name-dropped Brian Grazer and she broke into an even more hilarious rant about how fake the audience was, and how all she had to do to get laughs in this town was say Brian Grazer's name over and over. Brian Grazer, Brian Grazer, Brian Grazer!

Nick Kroll brought out an extra microphone, which meant it was time for The Brothers Sklar. They did a short set that started with Dueling Johnny Carsons and ended with Dueling Andrew Dice Clays. In between, they did an extended bit on how a suburban house in St. Louis was used for the opening montage in "Miami Vice".

Nick Swardson was next up and impressed everyone with his odd story of losing $300 in Vegas to a monkey. We're blanking on the rest of his set, but be assured that he received consistent laughs from everyone. Everyone except the mobster-looking fella who was seated next to the previously-mentioned teary-eyed gawking Bamford fan. The only one who got him to crack a smile was our next, and final, performer.

Paul F. Tompkins was the closer for the night, with great justification. He started with an aforementioned mis-read of the crowd's feelings about Barbaro and a story about NOT snubbing Tom Rhodes in London a few years back. From there, PFT went into what has become his standard set in the past few weeks, which makes us wonder if he's honing the material for another special or tour. The set included his experience with JetBlue, his problems with automatic sinks in public bathrooms, and his take on the great pie vs. cake debate.

All in all, it was one of the better, and more crowded, nights we can remember. The standing room only crowd - the show didn't start until 9ish because so many damn people showed up - led to a steamy room, but luckily the air kicked in about halfway through PFT's set, getting us all nice and chilly before we braved the misty rain outside.

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