The Centre in Vancouver played host to many comedians over the past 10 days, as part of Comedy Fest Vancouver. It has been a vast array of artists from across the board, from Betty White to Margaret Cho. Last night was the Closing Night Gala with David Cross and Bob Odenrirk, supported by a slew up-and-comers, and that was by far the best part of the festival.
To start the night we were greeted by Bob and David playing a bit of an MC roll. The first performer they introduced to the stage was Chicago native Matt Braunger. He bombarded the crowd with a fast paced, slap-you-in-the-face style of comedy mixed with just the perfect addition of darkness. Matt was a perfect start to the night. He had the crowd on its heals when he delved into a bit about the pre-puking sound every human makes, and left them down for the count when he talked about the worst job he ever had. Braunger is someone I have little experience with, but I found myself exploring Youtube in search of further documentation of his antics. He is one funny S.O.B.
The second up was Chelsea Peretti, and pretty little thing from Oakland, CA. Her sharp tongue and quick wit were refreshing. It is always nice to see a female comedian who has a few shadows in her perspective. Many of her jokes were quite personal and on the observational side; this made her easy to relate to. I found her views on being intolerant of others and their boring lives, to ring pretty true in my reality. Chelsea was infectiously funny, and left me and the rest of the crowd wanting more.
Next up was the off beat humor of Josie Long from England. From the moment she walked on stage the audience was in tears. Her quirky style was well thought out and perfectly executed. She took us on a journey through the diary of Charles Darwin, and capped off the set by playing every roll in a 4 person stage performance. I found Ms. Long to be sweet and endearing, and above all us completely hilarious.
We were then presented with a musically lined set by Nick Thune of Seattle. His style was clever and was made even more intriguing by his delivery. He plays the set completely straight faced, and a little dramatic, but then backs his set with an acoustic accouterments. He is a bit of a story teller, and again he falls into the clever group, much like Josie. But his style is more structured then hers. The best bit of his set was his closer, a story involving a baby, Cuba Gooding Jr. and a back flip.
David Cross then came out and faded the crowd out into the intermission. After a fifteen minute refresh we were back in our seats and ready to laugh.
Bob Odenkirk came out and filled out a complete set. He delved into politics and children and many other average joe subjects. He is truly a smart man, and it shines through in his content. The last part of his set, he was joined by Mr.Cross and Mr.Ennis and they played out a sketch doing a political round table. It was great to relive the old Mr.Show days, a time when sketch comedy was an art form and not marred by the likes of MadTV.
This was followed by Tim Heidecker of Pennsylvania, better known as one half of the comedy duo Tim and Eric. Mr.Heidecker came out and played the bombing comedian roll. He did really well at falling apart, completed by checking jokes on pieces of paper, acting clumsy and ruining every punch line he set up for himself. The best part of his act was his general appearance, he looked tacky and sweaty and super nervous. It was a great flop, better than any others I have seen before.
The last comedian in the gala was Marc Maron. With his cynical outlook and Jewish story telling, you would think he would fade into the masses of similar acts. He does not at all. He has a very unique style and walks you through the tiniest details of these epic stories. Traveling through both the high and low points, the sad and happy, and finally concluding on superb punch lines. Marc is a great comedian and reinforced this fact to the audience last night.
Finally we were carried out by Bob, Dave and John Ennis, as they rocked out on some electric guitars. Though the sound guy kept missing his mark and throwing off the mystic, it seemed to play well none the less. This was a truly amazing night of comedy, i feel blessed for having been able to witness it all. Each one of the artists from the gala brought something unique to the stage. I look forward to exploring them further. As for Bob and Dave, all I can say is wow, we need more of you and less of the shit that is pumping through the mainstream.