This is going to make me sound really old but comedy’s so much easier to appreciate than live music. No lugging drums off, lugging drums on, no “check, check, check,” no earplugs. Heck, most of the time the venue’s even gonna set out tables and chairs for you! Maybe that’s why more people seem game for hitting a comedy show, while bar bands are perplexed they can’t get crowds willing to stay out until 3 in the morning on a Tuesday.
Of course the Spring Value Tour is no Dane Cook/Jeff Dunham sort of bill, but Newport, KY’s Southgate House (or Cincinnati, OH, or Covington, KY, a major bone of contention for the night) drew a nice sized crowd for the tour-ending performance.
First up was newcomer Brendon Walsh, who’d just recorded a bit for John Oliver’s new show on Comedy Central. Observational, storytelling type stuff, which pretty much sums up about every comedian, but that’s kinda how it felt too. Not that it wasn’t funny, just nothing too outside the box. “Rowdy Powder” is great slang for cocaine though and you can check out one of his bits here.
Todd Barry was the real added bonus on this tour. I know I’d seen him in a few other places –- like his role in The Wrestler -– but it was his incredibly deadpan performances on Louis CK’s FX show LOUIE that really caught my attention (shameless plug, we’re featuring Louis in issue 28 out now!). Again, you’re looking at observational, storytelling type stuff, but Todd was definitely the veteran here, bringing in crowd interaction that was every bit as entertaining as the preplanned bits. There were no easily found stand-up videos found online, but you can check out what he and Wrestler director, Darren Aronofsky did for Funny or Die:
Finishing up the night was a personal fave of mine, Neil Hamburger. The thing I’ve come to notice with Hamburger shows is that the audience’s reaction is just as crucial as whatever he does on stage. Particularly great to this performance was a group of willing punching-bags, standing near the stage. “Fat boys!” Neil screamed at them, throwing not one, but two drinks directly at their faces then hurling the glass sidestage where it smashed in amazing affect. Some of the rest of the night was recycled from his last two Southgate House performances, but still good. Better yet was the older and truly unfunny early material that just left folks kind of bewildered. Bewildered is Neil’s A-game and people should follow this dude like they do Phish: you never really know where the show’s going to take you. Watch another amazing crowd interaction from the tour: