What do you do when you have racked up TV credits, performed at the prestigious comedy festivals and contests around North America, and still haven't broken through to the next level of your career as a stand-up comedian?
If you're Nate Bargatze, Jarrod Harris, Sean Patton and Rory Scovel, you rent a van, get a filmmaker, book a tour and make a documentary about their run through the South and up the East Coast. They're calling it "3 Weeks in September," and themselves The Southern Comedy Quartet.
Here's a video promo Scovel shot with Bargatze in the latter's hometown of Nashville, Tenn., where they met up over Labor Day weekend to kick off the tour. Roll the clip!
Congrats on acquiring the rights to produce a biopic of the late, great John Belushi. I read about it in the trades this morning. I know, you know, we all know you like showcasing great comedians in your movies. Are you already familiar with Sean Patton? If not, brush up on Sean Patton. Thanks!
Hope the rest of your summer is going well. I enjoyed seeing you on the set of Due Date last November, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished movie this November.
I watched comedian Sean Patton make his network television debut last night on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and sitting in the studio audience, I knew he'd knocked it out of the park. He had Fallon buckling over with the laughter, he had The Roots laughing loudly and often, and the rest of the audience was along for the ride.
Fallon even plugged Patton's weekly free comedy showcase at Kabin in the East Village (after earlier plugging a benefit Questlove is doing tonight at The Bell House in Brooklyn -- how very NYC hipster of Fallon, right?). Anyhow. For online, NBC cut the end-of-set plug along with the intro, but the rest of Patton's set remains here (try here on NBC.com if you can't watch Hulu). Direct your attention to the video and notice how much the camera seems to love him, and also how Patton takes his time and remembers to play to both the camera and even The Roots.
When I gave you some background information on Sean Patton in my "Meet Me In New York" Q&A with him yesterday, I didn't mention how he bears more than a passing resemblance to the late John Belushi. But just watch Belushi's 1975 screen test for the original Saturday Night Live. There's good reason to compare Patton to Belushi, and for only the right reasons. The funny ones. Enjoy!
What do they say about New York City: There are eight million stories, and sometimes it seems as though eight million of the people telling them think they're comedians? No, that's not it. It is a fact, though, that America's biggest city is also its biggest comedy mecca. Hollywood may be Hollywood, but New York City is where comedians are born funny, become funny or arrive to thrust their funny upon us. I think we should meet some of these people. This is a new recurring feature, a mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of New York's vibrant comedy scene. It's called Meet Me In New York.
I began Super Bowl week with a profile of an up-and-coming stand-up with ties to Indiana, so why not end the week with a look at someone who grew up in New Orleans. Especially when that somebody is making his network television debut tonight on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! Who Dat? Who Dat be Sean Patton. After performing in alt rooms around New York City, Sean Patton made a big splash in 2008 as a "New Face" at Montreal's Just For Laughs festival. You can watch the video I shot with Patton in the hotel lounge a few hours after he became a buzzed-about comic by industry types in Montreal. Now he's ready to make an even bigger splash. So let's get to know more about him.
Name: Sean Patton
Arrival date: March 5, 2007
Arrived from: Los Angeles/New Orleans
When and where did you start performing comedy? In New Orleans years and years ago. It was a very DIY scene. We would all do 20 minute sets at bars that had stages that weren't occupied by shitty cover bands or hip hop groups or Zydeco bands or shitty comics. The scene was very small then, maybe 25 comics (ran the gamut from hack to savant) and you got up a max of 6 or 7 times a month IF you were good. The scene is much bigger and better now. There are more comedians and better comedians. There's a comedy theater and a club that is opening this summer. Who Dat?
What was your best credit before moving here? Surviving Hurricane Katrina
The folks at Comix aren't paying me for this (note to self: get comedy clubs to pay me for this), but they've been churning out the customized video promos in the last half of this year to sell you, me and anyone else on the Internet about their live comedy shows in NYC's Meatpacking District. Just check out ComixNY's YouTube channel and see for yourself. Or look at this short video that Rory Scovel and Sean Patton came up with, directed by the club's Carol Hartsell, for their upcoming show in early January. Roll it!
When I watch it, I like to imagine what Mo'Nique must be thinking in the background. Now that's precious.
Most comedy clubs take pride in having a stand-up decide to record his or her latest CD/DVD special at their establishments. Besides being listed in the liner notes, the club also can use this as a bragging point to attract both audiences and comedy acts alike.
But what if a comedy club decided to get into the business of recording and producing stand-up albums? That's exactly what Comix in New York City began doing earlier this year with its Live on Tape series. Usually recorded in pairs, the club will play host to recordings tonight for up-and-coming comics Myq Kaplan and Giulia Rozzi.
They already have recorded live sessions with Ophira Eisenberg, Vanessa Hollingshead, Craig Baldo, Sean Patton, Darryl Lenox and Matt McCarthy. Though none of the previous six sets are out yet, they will be soon, and will be released on Apple's iTunes and other applicable digital marketplaces.
I saw the Lenox and McCarthy tapings last month. The audience seemed divided equally among those who came specifically for one or the other comedian, and despite the two bringing completely different vibes and comedic approaches to the stage, they both killed it.
Brian Baldinger, Comix's current booker and director of talent development, said the club takes advantage of its own high-quality equipment to record the 45-to-60-minute sets, and then sends out the recordings to BSeen Media down in Suwanee, Georgia, where they then edit and master the production, and divides it into individual tracks that can be monetized, as it were. "We collaborate with the artists on artwork," Baldinger said. And when the comedian approves the final tracks, "BSeen markets the work on iTunes and all of the similar sites that are out there, and then there is profit-sharing for all three parties."
BSeen already has a track record, so to speak, of working with comedians such as Tom Papa, Tom Shillue, Mitch Fatel and Phil Mazo on recording, producing and marketing their own stand-up CDs. "They have a history of selling tracks for people who are known and unknown," Baldinger said, "so we're giving it a whirl. We're still in the post process on the first pair of albums that we did in the series, so we don't know what the results are yet."
It's no cost at all for the comedian, outside of getting an audience to show up for the live taping -- unless he or she wishes to make physical copies of the CDs and/or DVDs to sell on the road.
How do you decide who gets to tape with Comix? "It's comics whose material I love, who I think deserve a shot, and who have the time, have the 45 minutes and who fit with our brand," Baldinger said. "We haven't figured out all of the branding stuff yet. But I want to be proud of them for being on our, for lack of a better word, label. Even if they don't have a national name, they have enough that we can get that night going."
Are you getting bombarded with taping requests from comedians yet? "I think we're still flying a little under the radar right now. I think we'll have to get the finished product, where people are buying it in the marketplace, before people figure out what's going on." Baldinger is fine with being under the radar for now. "Less politics in it that way."
Thanks to CC Insider for posting this earlier today, but why no IDs to share the love with all of the comedians pictured here with fake funny names? I can safely identify six of the stand-up comedians done up in cartoons for the upcoming new issue of MAD magazine. How many can you name? If you need some hints, look at the tags on this post.
Did you miss last week's Time Out New York approved comedy showcase at the UCB that was part of the New York Comedy Festival? Would you like to see some highlights from the sets of Anthony Jeselnik, Max Silvestri, Reggie Watts, Sean Patton, Seth Herzog, The Hazzards and host/TONY Comedy Editor Jane Borden? Of course, you would. So here that is. Note: Language is NSFW!
The UCB Theatre in New York City has a tradition of offering great stand-up comedy showcases for free late-night Mondays. For a while, Aziz Ansari hosted the showcase under the name Crash Test. Then Ansari got all Human Giant, and the showcases took a break. Leo Allen has taken over hosting duties in the 11 p.m. Monday timeslot, now known as Whiplash. This week, audiences got treated to Allen, Sean Patton, Eugene Mirman, Janeane Garofalo, John Mulaney and Hannibal Buress. For free! (Well, there is the "Bucket of Truth" to accept your comedy donations afterward, but still...) So imagine my surprise this week to see the house only half full?! You're missing out, people!
Janeane Garofalo, pictured here resting her bad back. "Mama's got a bum stem!" she told the crowd. Photo by Mindy Tucker. More photos at With Reservation.
Big weekends don't begin on Fridays, but rather on Thursdays, so that's how I found myself on a bus to Washington, District of Columbia, last week to arrive just in time for the kickoff of last weekend's DC Comedyfest.
Someone joked that night that D.C. really was hosting the Chicago and New York fest, due to all of the comedic talent arriving from those two cities, but I know I wasn't the only person excited to see the all-local District of Comedy showcase, as a few other industry types joined me in the DC Improv's lounge on Thursday night to check out some comedians we hadn't seen before. How would we know at the time -- how could we know? -- that this show would prove more worthwhile than the official industry showcase that followed on the Improv's mainstage later that night? But we'll get to that soon enough.
Jason Weems, from Baltimore, appeared on both the D.C. and industry showcases that night, performing essentially the same set twice, although he had the misfortune early in having to compete with a noisy waiter and an awkward atmosphere later. And, um, "scrotum meat?" OK. That's a phrase that certainly sticks with you...hope you didn't order the nachos. Also noticed his vocal delivery seemed to be influenced by Chappelle. Not that that's a bad thing. He's also all over that McCain joke about how his being a POW doesn't make him good at winning wars.
Aparna Nancherla claims she is an introvert, which is an odd-but-true trait for a stand-up comedian, but is quick to point out, "I watch, TV, too!" so you can relate to her. She has a good, strong stage presence. If only she hadn't gotten the silent treatment from Last Comic Standing this year, perhaps she would have been the first female winner?
Kojo Mante sees why it'd be foolish to endorse a national gas holiday, but has more to say about the foolishness of building a statue of a homeless guy, which apparently they've done there. Hampton Yount is one shiny, happy, white boy, and the audience loved his boyish boyishness (that's a not-so-hifalutin way of describing his energy), all the way through his closing bit about the energy you need to sustain to write an angry letter. Jay Hastings went to the trouble of wearing the same outfit he had on in the Post's Express spread on him, but apparently, people don't even read free newspapers in D.C. any longer. "You think when you make the Express you'd be on the showcase," Hastings ranted. Although his bit on fingering probably would not have worked there...trust me on this one. Jon Mumma closed the local parade by imagining "swirlio" guys at the gym doing calf raises, poking fun at a Brad Paisley lyric, and noticing the things kids can get away with that adults simply cannot. He sounded like a guy you hear on the radio.
So, yeah. About that "Fresh Voices Industry Stand-Up Audition Show." It'd be for the best if I left all of the names out to protect the innocent, but really, some things need to be said about this show, which went awry from the get-go and only barely got back on track for a moment or two. Comics were buzzing before the showcase about the fact that TJ Miller couldn't make it to D.C. to host because he was in New York City auditioning for Saturday Night Live (catching up with Miller later over the weekend, he said, well, perhaps I shouldn't say what he said because SNL is making final decisions this week on him and a few others as possible cast additions). But without Miller, the festival looked to Dave Hill to substitute as host. As much as I love Hill and his quirky sensibility, he's really more of an anti-host. It's more than fine when it's his own show, but he doesn't bring the kind of energy to the room that young comics looking for TV exposure are going to want or need. So that started the show on an odd foot. But Jared Logan, first up, made things terribly awkward by starting his showcase for the industry by verbally attacking Hill -- "Is that the host we're going with tonight?" -- and creating a mood where the audience was expecting a night of fights rather than laughs. Which leads me to another point of order. If you are performing for a panel of TV scouts (which this was, with people representing Letterman, Comedy Central, VH1 and E!'s Chelsea Lately), wouldn't you want to do material that you could imagine them delivering on the TV? As I texted someone later during the show: "Some odd choices to showcase yourselves to TV scouts. Crowd not great, but not their fault." Many in the lineup simply didn't bring the right stuff on this night. Kumail Nanjiani, or am I supposed to be calling him Ali now, went long but managed to engage the crowd and get everybody involved with the show again, leaving some scraps for the final two performers of the evening, Sean Patton and Brooke Van Poppelen. Patton got applause for his bit about calling in sick, and Poppelen found more than a few fans with her thoughts about brunch. You know what? It is for the best to leave out the other names from this showcase, because they'll have better opportunities to shine in the future.
On a brighter note, I managed to get some sleep on the Greyhound bus back to New York City on Friday morning without losing my head. So hooray for that.
The people at Just For Laughs in Montreal decided to recap some of their shows in video highlights, which means you can get a feel for what you saw, or what you missed. Although they don't give all of the New Faces face time (hmmm), but the Just For Laughs video portal (yes, they have their own video portal for you to upload your own funny fun-time videos) includes a highlight reel set to music and with more Galas and French Canadians than any other JFL video. So let's start with that one, with the New Faces, Amp'd and Masters after the jump!
It's time for one last look around the 2008 Montreal Just For Laughs festival, which Variety reports raked in $10 million (which is about the same in Canadian as it is in U.S. dollars these days!) this July. Which means this final recap must begin with the guy who buzzed about the festival...
Doug Stanhope, who set up his Slamdance to their Sundance, aka Just For Spite festival with shows Friday and Saturday at Club Chaos, told me on Saturday night that he'd been offered a paltry $1,100 to perform 10 nights of one-man shows at the fest (or as he added, less than what he earned during his first trip to Montreal's JFL), which prompted his fury. Much of the buzz about Stanhope during the fest itself centered around two incidents, both of which Stanhope wrote about online. He first aired his grievances on Wednesday via 236.com, then on Friday night, after getting kicked out of a JFL venue by fest organizer Bruce Hills, Stanhope went to his MySpace to fill us in on the details.
Most pleasant surprise in a one-man show: Patrice Oneal. Here's a guy who seems so in your face and so not safe for work that, well, that's how his career even began in Boston, challenging another comedian. And he has made his name on the club circuit as that guy who won't take no gruff. But you take him out of the comedy clubs and put him in an intimate theater setting, give him a stool or a chair and just let him speak...wow. As I noted earlier, his one-man show, Positivity, is positively brilliant. He may think he's not getting any smarter. But this show is the smartest thing he has done.
The lucky New Faces bump? Last year, Tom Papa hosted all of the New Faces showcases and handled himself with such professionalism and managed to bring the funny, that I recall singling him out and hoping he'd get a show of his own. This year, Papa got the special one-man showcase named after the late Richard Jeni and earned nightly standing ovations for his show, Only Human. Here's the Montreal Gazette review to chew on. I saw similar magic coming from Greg Giraldo this year in hosting New Faces, and hope he gets a similar promotion in 2009. Giraldo always has mastered the art of topical social commentary, but there also has been so much going on in his world, both professionally and personally, that could be mined for a one-man show. Let's make that happen.
Funniest comic-on-comic impersonation: Greg Behrendt, who introduced himself to the audience as "a 45-year-old alternative comic," doing Russell Brand at the midnight Alternative showcase, slinking his way around the stage and joking about Brand having sex with Kate Moss.
Toughest ticket for a show I wished I'd seen: They say you mock the ones you love (some do), so Behrendt must have been paying tribute to Russell Brand's status as the hot comic of the moment. You had to sweet talk your way into his sold-out performances. Thankfully, I got to see Brand a couple of days later in New York City (my review of Russell Brand).
Toughest ticket for a show I'm not sorry I missed: Apatow For Destruction. Movie producers and movie stars should not always be confused for great stand-up comedians.
How young is he, again? Bo Burnham, at 17, is the new sensation, already signed to Gersh with a Comedy Central EP that zoomed up the iTunes charts. Where did he come from? Outside of Boston, since you asked. He generated some "heat" as they say in the bidness. I saw him the previous weekend open up for Joel McHale at Carolines and deliver an amazingly proficient and efficient 13-minute musical set of songs and rap. How did this tall, scrawny high-school kid making YouTube videos gain so much poise onstage with less than 20 live performances to his credit? He told me. "I'm young, dumb and fearless." Here's a recent fairly NSFW video from Bo fo yo (argh, I just really typed that and didn't backspace backspace delete, didn't I?):
State of the Industry vs. Comedy Person of the Year: Andy Kindler wins in a walk-off, as Kindler filled the room to more than capacity, with people standing in the foyer, then half of them walking out to skip the festival's awarding of "Comedy Person of the Year" to Judd Apatow. Having Apatow did guarantee that all his famous friends and industry associates would show up in Montreal, though, leading to some heartfelt words from Apatow himself, and a funny quip from Seth Rogen: "Look at us. We're a parade of bad fashion...It's like we're at the rehearsal for the award."
Just Comedy? Remember the days when you didn't have to pay $500 to attend a festival thrown on your behalf? Oh, those were days. But Just Comedy's two-day confab proved to be kind of eh. As I joked to Andy Kindler in our short video interview, I only stayed at the Webisode to Episode panel for about five minutes, because that's as long as that panel should have been. Don't they know this already? Because of that, I missed out on perhaps the liveliest panel of the confab, as club owners kvetched at length about the business of live touring.
All-around favorites: You couldn't go anywhere in Montreal without someone reminding you how great John Mulaney and Brent Weinbach were at the festival. I shall sing Mulaney's praises to anyone who asks, and it was great to see him knock it out of the park (that's a baseball term) at JFL, with people especially rapt over his tale of playing a joke on a restaurant at age 11. Mind you, he's only 25 now. He will tape a Comedy Central Presents next month and you will enjoy it. He's also co-headlining at Comix next month (Aug. 22-23) with Nick Kroll. As for Weinbach, he won the Andy Kaufman Award in Vegas last year for a reason, and showed why in Montreal with an over-the-top performance at the alternative showcases.
New Faces recaps: My favorites or yours? Brendon Walsh stood out for me with his cleverness, while Sean Patton surprised me because I had never seen him in a mainstream club before. Harris Wittels delivered the ballsiest set, ending a routine that included misnamed bands and masturbation issues with a joke about racism. Ira Proctor turned it around so much from the first set to the second that veteran Larry Miller couldn't stop complimenting him. Mo Mandel was the singular standout from the other group. Although truth be told, most people I talked to from the industry were relatively underwhelmed by this year's crop of New Faces as a whole. Then again, they were relatively underwhelmed in general.
State of the New Faces Industry: What does it say about the comedy industry and Montreal's New Faces that two of them, Iliza Shlesinger and Jeff Dye, are among the finalists for this season on NBC's Last Comic Standing? A few things. Among them: The NBC producers prefer fresh-faced comedians, even if they're relatively inexperienced, because it allows them to have control (read: earn money) by launching their careers nationally. Also, it means tough luck for industry wanting a piece, as NBC and the producers have them under its contractual spell already. Anyone want to guess whether Shlesinger and Dye already are locked up for the nationwide club/theater tour that follows the season finale?
The Masters: Speaking of Larry Miller, what a class act he proved to be in Montreal, not just for actually watching younger comedians and saying nice things to them, but also for being the consummate host for the Masters showcases. Miller has been one of the more amusing voices of reason on Bill Maher's HBO chat show, Real Time, and it's so nice to be able to see Miller onstage again doing stand-up. As he told audiences, "Almost everyone on the show is someone I've known for years and respect -- and they're all good." Well, I'll be the judge of that. Henry Cho, a Korean raised in Tennesee, "so I'm South Korean." If you didn't enjoy Esther Ku's jokes about getting Koreans confused for each other, what would you make of this master's trip to the homeland with his father: "When we went to Korea, he walked 20 feet away and I lost him!" Hal Sparks continues to sport his Criss Angel hair and magician look, despite how it looks. It looks like Criss Angel. Instead, Sparks ranted against people who miss his short hair, talked about losing his Kentucky accent, and did a big act-out about sexually peaking. Cathy Ladman hates her New York voice, and Montreal audiences weren't exactly thrilled with it, either. Another trip to the therapist and everything will be OK. Henry Phillips and his guitar? Well, here's a little number you may have heard before, "Sweet Little Blossom of Mine." Todd Glass: I hadn't seen him live in four years, and man, how I missed seeing his energetic self. Glass is a guy who's always on, even when he's not on he's on. What a bundle of fun! Remember when Glass was on Last Comic Standing and kept mugging for everyone at everytime...good times. At the Masters, Glass riffed on both Sparks and Phillips and then himself, and destroyed with a bit about how easy recipes are, such as corn pudding! Meantime, here's an oldie but a goodie from Glass. Thea Vidale and I sat next to each other on the "regional jet" up from New York City, and regional jet means really small plane, which means I actually should have and could have used the phrase, "C'mon and sit on Daddy's lap!" And Billy Gardell closed by focusing on how kids have changed and how we've all changed because of anti-depressants, with a presence that shows you what a veteran stand-up headliner's set is all about.
Shuttle buddies: Don't know how it worked out like this, because we didn't see other during the fest and came from different cities, but Kent from Ask A Ninja and I ended up on the same shuttles to and from the airport in Montreal. Serendipity?
But what about next year: What about 2009? As noted or hinted at previously, several industry folks grumbled openly about wondering why they'd come to Montreal again in the first place. The festival certainly didn't dispel stereotypes about the friendliness of French Canadians, as they tried every manner in the book to get industry up to Montreal -- including their annual withholding of the New Faces and Masters names until two days before most would arrive, adding this two-day Just Comedy confab and charging industry $500 to show up -- then giving industry folks multiple hassles once they made it to Montreal. And that's not to mention the outrageous prices in the Hyatt Regency ($3 for a Coca-Cola, $10 for a bottle of beer), the attitude of the Hyatt toward the industry (even though the festival encouraged them to stay in the Hyatt) and the fact that some Hyatt workers were picketing outside made for a big barrel of not-fun. Stanhope wasn't the only one to openly ask if Montreal has become more about making a profit off of comedy fans and less about being a place for discovering and launching comedy careers. So what will happen in 2009 when JFL joins up with TBS to host a comedy festival in Chicago the month before Montreal? Will the industry go to Chicago and skip Montreal entirely? It only served to make me miss the atmosphere in Aspen, a festival run by people who really wanted it to be a home for the comedy industry (even if it proved too expensive and snowy). It also makes me want to start up my own comedy festival, a true showcase to bring industry to the talents worth watching, both new and old. If anyone wants to help me make that come true, please holler my way. Thanks.
One of the pure joys of writing about arts and entertainment is the chance to happen upon something or someone quite unexpected or new, to get a chance to see it/them develop, and then to watch as this new unexpected thing gets recognized by others. I suppose it's much like the feelings a parent has watching a child grow up. Without the tantrums and whatnot. Naturally. Anyhow. I bring this up because I have seen and watched Sean Patton perform stand-up this past year in a variety of alternative venues, alternative to alternative venues, rock clubs, dive bars, hip dive bars, and really, anywhere but in an actual comedy club, in front of crowds made up mostly of comedians and those that either label themselves "hipsters" or would eschew the term in a millisecond. I also saw Patton take part in a silly "dating" exercise with two other comedians for The Tyra Banks Show (those videos are available here and here). So even just seeing his name among the 2008 New Faces for Montreal's Just For Laughs Festival was a pleasant surprise. I wasn't sure how he'd translate on a big stage in front of hundreds of traditional comedy club patrons, many of them Canadians, plus the many industry folks lined up in the back of the club waiting to make a quick verdict on him. But Patton delivered, and several people were talking about his performance afterward. Of course, The Comic's Comic was on the scene and, after several other industry folks had congratulated Patton and he'd gotten some time to talk on the phone with loved ones, I got him to sit down for a few minutes early this morning to talk about what has to be considered the biggest performance in his stand-up comedy career so far...Note: A few profanities are uttered, so keep that in NSFW mind, please.
The judge's rulings are final. So I'm going to withhold final judgments on some of the New Faces until further review. At Montreal's Just For Laughs, the New Faces have to deal not only with the pressure of a large foreign comedy club, but also with the added nerves of performing for all of the industry people who likewise stand and sit in ultimate judgement from the back corners of the bars, ready to make or break a comedian's career. Wow. What a build-up, eh? First off, let it be acknowledged that nobody bombed last night. Referring to my Simon Cowell Playbook, I can definitely also say, however, that several of the comedians need to do more to make a lasting impression, if they want that impression to be a positive one.
Host Greg Giraldo killed it, both in his opening remarks and also, at the halfway point, after he threatened a particularly persistent idiot heckler, surging into several minutes of high-power comedy. "Maybe I can get a show called Washed Up Hacks Stomp On 60-Pound Dickbags," he wondered aloud. Giraldo also reflected on how important this night was for "these kids," and what it means about his career that he'd be calling the New Faces kids.
Among the kids, the two real stand-outs from last night were Sean Patton and Brendon Walsh. More than a few people asked about Patton afterward and wanted to know what I knew of him, considering that he's based in New York. I have another post coming shortly on that aspect, but can tell you that he delivered a strong set from the get-go, opening with having to call in sick with a case of "the roars," followed by a case of "the beatboxes." With the crowd on his side, he paused for a beat. Then exclaimed: "You motherf%$#ers want to to fight me???" It was the best way I'd ever seen him introduce this bit about how to defend himself in an unexpected fight scenario, and it got a big laugh. He closed wih a weird and wild ode of what his ex did to his broken heart. Messed up, to say the least. As for Walsh, he proved to me once again that the Austin comedy scene seems to churn out very creative and clever comedians. Walsh's opening line: "Just like every other comedian, I have a fictional girlfriend, and we're having problems. It's rough." Walsh also has some very mean pranks up his sleeves, so tell puppies and Gene Hackman to watch out. And he can end any hopes of being forced to sing karaoke again just by taking on "Zombie" by The Cranberries.
For the record, though, current Last Comic Standing finalist Iliza Shlesinger scored not one, not two, but three applause breaks during her brief performance. Someone recently commented on my site that she's like a female Dane Cook, and waching her live, I can see that comparison. Take it for what it's worth. And right now, I can tell that some of you are taking it to either extreme. Suffice it to say, she's physical, she likes playing with sounds, she attacks the stage and has immense stage presence. It's a lot for some to take, I know. I get the sense that Shlesinger is trying to prove a broader point that she should be on TV more, in any capacity, whether it's stand-up or acting. I do know this: You'll be seeing a lot more of her on your TVs this summer, and in the clubs this fall.
Chelsea Peretti and Ira Proctor both delivered decent sets. Proctor's could have been better if the crowd had cooperated with him. Harris Wittels suffered from an unfortunate microphone malfunction, but recovered well enough to deliver a ballsy routine that even the band used as a callback, to hilarious effect on an unsuspecting Giraldo later in the show. There was a moment during Michael Palascak's set when I closed my eyes and thought I heard Mike Birbiglia. Tu Rae's deep voice had his routine down to a couple of key phrases, "know your limitations" and "do the best you can." Is that his advice for his career, too? Discuss. And Erik Griffin, taking the stage last after midnight, didn't get to play to a full and engaged room. They and the other New Face in this group (Seaton Smith) will get a second opportunity to make a first impression on Friday.