Okay, backstory first: I used to do standup. I wasn’t great, I wasn’t bad. Some nights, with the right crowd, I came withing spitting distance of really, really good. My entire act was based around my total disdain of the audience, the other comics and humanity in general.

I know. What a fucking shock, right?

I quit when I saw Bill Hicks for the first time. For those who still haven’t heard of him, Bill Hicks was — in my enlightened and much more informed than yours opinion — the finest comic yet to take the stage. He started when he was sixteen, and died in ’94 from pancreatic cancer.

Bill wasn’t just good, he was a fucking force of nature. He was brutally funny, smart, acerbic, and entirely unapologetic about never softening of dumbing down his material. Bill routinely did things 15 years ago that would still be considered too edgy for most rooms today.

When I saw Bill, I realized he was doing the act I wanted to do; doing it better than ever I could. I was never going to be anything more than a Bill Hicks wannabe, even before I knew who Bill Hicks was, so I packed it in.

I’m in mind of all this because last night K & I went to see our friend Mary Forrest doing standup at The Comedy Store. Mary was good; let me get that out right up front. She was sharp, her timing is good, she has a great, natural presentation style without shtick and manages to be funny by just talking to the audience. That’s really hard. And despite the fact that she’s a hot-ass Asian girl, she hasn’t fallen into the “early-Margaret-Cho-me-so-horny” trap or the “I’m-a-hot-chick-telling-dick-jokes” trap. She does her own stuff, and does it well.

So none of the bile I’m about to spew is about Mary. That’s the point.

For most of the rest of the comics who were up there, I have a tiny piece of career advice: get the fuck off the stage or eat shit and die. because you really. really. suck.

I cannot believe that the shit we sat through last night flies in a town of this size, and at the fucking Comedy Store no less. Granted, it was just the back room, and it was a bring-along, or a bringer (which means comics who don’t produce their share of audience get stuck with a portion of the room tab…  essentially, it’s a backhanded pay-to-play gig) so you’re guaranteed a few suckholes, but sweet jesus eating donkey balls, these people were bad.

Short of Andy Dick, I can’t remember sitting through comics that painful since Otto & George did the AVN Awards.

Now granted, having actually done it, I’m an incredibly tough critic of comics. Actually, I’m an incredibly tough critic of any artist who does something I feel I can do, even rudimentally. For example, I rarely have any serious musical criticism beyond what I like and what I don’t because I’m a musical retard.

There are very few comics I think are really good. I generally despise sketch “comedy” and I’ve sworn never, ever again to go to an improv show, especially in L.A. Still, since there are alwayswaaaaay toooooo maaaaaany comics in a bring-along, you’d expect to see a mix of good and bad, right? 50/50 maybe?

No.

We sat through 146 comedians last night (okay, 16 or 17, but that feels like at least 146 in real-time sitting in the shitty chairs in the freezing-cold Comedy Store) and maybe a third of them actually had an act.

This might surprise you, but there’s an entire segment of the comedic population who think they’re funny just by… I dunno… existing on stage. No jokes, no material. Just “here I am, laugh you fuckers!”

All of those people were there last night. One cocksucker spent thirty seconds at the top of his set posing, waiting for applause because apparently we were supposed to know Who He Was. When there was dead, stunned silence he looked at us and said “I was waiting for applause.”

Fuck you, pal. You make funny, we make clappy. It’s simple equation. Oh, and Frank Caliendo would like his DeNiro impression back when you’re done sweating on it.

Moral of the story: If you’re going to make the effort to “support live comedy” in L.A., take a thick skin, a seat cushion, low expectations… and maybe a blowgun. That’s my idea of comedy.

Whatcha think?

Subscribe to the Tango

Get an email whenever I blather.

Archives
Posts by Category
Posts by Date
November 2006
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  
From Twitter
Random Quote

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair. — Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless