After the high of Harmontown, re-entering the real world’s atmosphere was a rough transition. I lurched and grumbled my way through a workday, snappy and irritable. Much as I’m loving the festival, I’m glad it’s tapering down. I don’t think I could handle another week.
Still, there was more comedy to see, so I trucked it out to the bus. Cutting it pretty close, I then waited 20 minutes for a bus. Knowing that I’d be too late with any other option, I summoned an Uber and was on the verge of telling him to step on it. As my driver sped and weaved through traffic, my irritable, snappy mood was only honed by the frenetic classical music playing on his stereo. Was I in a Warner Bros Cartoon?
7.16pm – Neal Brennan.
Okay, so I was a little late, but apparently all I missed was Neal explaining his set up (which was easy enough to work out). He had three mics spread across the stage. One was for so called “traditional stand up”, the next was for emotional stories/monologues and the third was for one liners. What could’ve been a gimmick was an excellent way of pulling the audience in and segmenting a one man show in a balanced manner.
It all flowed, the emotional monologues painted a portrait of depression and how he had dealt with it in an ongoing manner through his life. These in turn informed the jokes he told, springing off his stunted emotional growth or familial issues. Then to lighten things up a tad, the one liners offered quick turnaround. Short segments like “sound racist/isn’t racist” and his bits on the terror of testosterone played with stereotypes from distinct angles rather than falling into hacky social dichotomies. The emotional moments hung in the air and stayed with you. Recounting his turbulent relationship with his father, the line “Dad, I don’t need you when times are good. I need you all the time” hit and hit hard.
When the Netflix special is inevitably released, put it on your Must Watch list.
9pm -DeAnne Smith.
I love DeAnne. I think DeAnne is so goddamn funny that I’m intimidated by how goddamn funny she is. She might be coming on the Pawdcast, which threatens to become a new take on the Troy/LeVar Burton classic.
I can describe DeAnne and how funny she is, but it doesn’t do justice to seeing her live. She has this inimitable energy and timing that are nigh impossible to put into words. Turning from bombastic bits to quiet asides on a dime, she effortlessly transitions between prepared bits and crowdwork. There’s something that feels inclusive about her performance, while simultaneously understanding that she’s five steps ahead of you at all times.
This may seem like erroneous ego fellatio. It’s not. DeAnne is a fucking treasure.
Almost as a gift, an errant bit of crowd work (intended as a transition between bits) threatened to derail the show. On her way to a bit on strip clubs, DeAnne discovered that a man in the front row was born underneath one. His daughter, seated next to him, confirmed.
To close out the show, DeAnne took the crowd on a journey through a bizarre text exchange she’d had. What could’ve been an amusing anecdote in anyone else’s hands became an increasingly intense adventure with a truly shocking ending.
I should probably close this out and get off her dick. If you’re not gonna get a chance to see her, maybe buy her album?
THREE MORE NIGHTS.