I hadn’t even heard of Brad Williams until a week or so before the comedy fest. The internet told me about him, the internet is good like that. I’m always trawling through the intertubes for new standup comedians to both laugh at and idolize in equal measure. And to be completely honest with you, I don’t come across too many up and coming North American comedians that really make me laugh like he did. So when I saw that Brad would be performing right here at the Comedy Fest, I put my hand up straight away to go see him.
The Baby Grand Room at Lafflines was full on Friday night with people ready for a good time. Host Michelle Shaughnessy knew how to get the crowd warmed up. I really liked Michelle, she had some good laughs and wasn’t afraid to tread into some pretty rocky territory (see: the inability to reproduce and a possible past drug addiction). But where she really showed her chops was when she was interacting with the audience. She had us in fits as she both tried to force herself into a relationship with a nice young man in the front and do her best to assure his sister and mother that she really is a sweet and honest girl.
The other professional comic of the night was Rob Mailloux. Again, Rob wasn’t afraid of digging a little bit into the darkness to find humor. His bit about pedophile, child sponsorship didn’t seem to go down well with everyone but I was lapping it up. I respect a comedian who searches for the laughs in obscure places rather than pandering to the broader crowd and when people come specifically to see him, he’s gonna kill it.
The warm up acts were good, but when Brad Williams came out on the stage, his skills and experience as a comedian were obvious. He instantly had the spirits of the room right up and we were absorbing every word. He stood head and shoulders above the other comedians of the night.
You’ll have to excuse my terrible ironic pun there, because as I’m sure you’re aware by now Brad is a little person, or a dwarf, or a midget if you will. Don’t worry I’m allowed to say midget, Brad told me to. And as he said himself, no matter what my other friends got up to on the weekend, my story is better because I got to laugh at a midget telling jokes.
And that is something I was concerned about going into the show; is that all it would be? A dwarf making dwarf jokes, or would he be able to break out of that gimmick. It’s probably very offensive to call a disability a gimmick, but what I mean by that is something that makes an aspiring stand up comedian stand out from the rest. For example, nineties stand up was full of guitars, cellos and costumes, but gimmicks grow thin pretty quickly.
There was nothing to worry about with Brad though, whilst the midget jokes came thick and fast it was by no means his only schtick. Actually he used it more as a tool and a way to say terribly offensive things about any and all minority groups (and fat people) and somehow not come across as a complete asshole. But I gotta say, when he showed us that he couldn’t masturbate standing up due to his little arms, I was definitely laughing at ‘the midget on stage’.
In fact he had me laughing almost non-stop. He was super animated and full of contagious energy. But on the other hand, so down to earth that it felt almost like he was just be telling me some jokes over beers at the pub.
I really think that we’ll see more of Brad in the future, he’s a hell of a performer and one funny little fucker.