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Monday, October 19, 2009

I Drink for a Reason

I have not seen a stand-up comedian perform in well over ten years. Usually, whenever a comedian I like comes to town, he or she usually plays a venue that's either too small (most of the time) or too big (some of the time). Plus, the cost is never something I really want to investigate because it's probably too much for something that probably won't last for very long.

All this said, when a friend of mine wanted to go see David Cross perform at a venue literally within walking distance from my house, I could not pass up the opportunity.

I've never seen David do stand-up before. I don't own any of his CDs, and I've never seen his material on YouTube. Matter of fact, I really only know him from Arrested Development and various interviews on late-night talk shows, along with Superchunk's "Watery Hands" video and Yo La Tengo's "Sugarcube" video. So, I'm not one to roll off obscure lines from Mr. Show or know exactly what he does in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies.

Well, with two hours of material ranging from the sounds he makes while taking a dump to barbs at Orthodox Jews and Mormons, you could say he covered a lot. And he never delivered this stuff like he reciting from tightly-written cheatsheet. No, he went with the flow, did his bits, and improvised when certain people yelled out random roles and random lines from his career.

What made the show a real special show was the spontaneity. When a female in the middle of the floor seats asked that he sign one of his DVDs as Bob Odenkirk, David decided to call Bob on his cell phone. When the theater's film projector seemed to not work correctly, David decided to tell another story. And when he wrapped up his story, he got word that the projector was back working, and thus the crowd got to see the first few minutes of a pilot he shot in London called The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. Based on the few minutes shown, I think it would be safe to say that there would be outrage if the show didn't go to series. Really, really funny stuff that deserves to be picked up.

As I came out of the show, I realized how satisfying the whole experience was. Even though David used many of the same rehearsed bits from previous dates, I didn't sense that he was just playing to a generic audience and then said, "Thanks. Good night." No, there was a sense of "You had to be there" to totally get what happened. So, I'm glad I jumped at the chance to see him. If I overthought going or not going, I would have completely missed a cruise ship of an experience.

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