Reviews

Oddball Comedy And Curiousity Festival @ White River Amphitheatre – September 5th 2014

Louis CK @ Odd Ball Comedy & Curiousity Festival © Michael Ford

The show started a little after 5:00 with Brody Stevens getting the crowd of a few hundred in front of the second stage engaged with his aggressive and in your face style of comedy. When I say in your face I mean it, he got off the stage and walked around the crowd, narrating his way to the stairs and into the crowd. Taking every moment he could to remind the crowd of how he’s on mood stabilizers mixed with Red Bull and has a new show “Fantasy Football Uncensored” on Fox Sports 1. He also took every opportunity to remind the crowd that he started his comedy career in Seattle and that he used to sell shirts at the Key Arena during SuperSonics games or that he worked at the first Red Robin.

The second stage was rounded by local comedians Duane Goad, who gave a solid set, complete with a bit impersonating Johnny Carson inviting Brody Stevens to come sit on the famous couch. Jubal Flagg, another Seattle local, delivered a set that kept the crowd engaged.

Up last on the second stage was Grant Cotter, winner of The Road 2 Oddball, which allowed him to perform at every stop on the festival’s itinerary. He had the crowd laughing for his roughly twenty minute set and was off the stage leaving plenty of time for everybody to grab food and drinks and head into the amphitheater to watch the night’s main stage performers.

Brody Stevens came out to introduce the host for the evening, Jeff Ross, who took the stage to get the audience primed with his brand of roasting humor, using the cameras and jumbo screens to pinpoint his targets. It makes me wishes I could always have a camera and a jumbo screen with me.

After a good fifteen minutes he introduced the first act, Whitney Cummings. She came out with a set that concentrated mostly on the difference between being a woman in her twenties and thirties. Also, talked a fair amount about how men don’t want to have sex with her. The crowd enjoyed her set.

Up next was Demetri Martin who started things off by also noticing the giant screen, even noting that his shirt was untucked and promptly fixed that. His sense of humor is dry and based a good amount on turn of phrases. I think it was lost a little on the crowd who was guzzling tall cans of Bud Light and eating fried food. The problem wasn’t with his comedy, but rather the nature the crowd.

Chris Hardwick came out of the shadows with a burst of energy that didn’t let up his entire set. He started things off by giving Jeff Ross a flying high five and immediately made his way into the front row, greeting people and giving a few drunk people a good old fashioned ribbing. A couple were walking out of the seated area and they did not leave unscathed with Chris Hardwick sarcastically yelling “Where are you going? I worked hard on this!” It’s obvious that he had most of the crowd in the palm of his hand and that his career is rising and will continue to do so.

After Hardwick set the crowd up, Hannibal Buress took the stage, sporting a jumpsuit with his face on it. Which he infomred was his idea and it cost him $180. He also decided that Auburn, WA is the world capitol of abandoned firework shacks. It’s easy to see why when Louis C.K. was asked, during a Reddit AMA, which comics make him laugh he said Hannibal Buress. That had to put a little pressure on him to perform on this tour and he delivered an amazing set, complete with thanking athletes who risk their long term health by taking performance enhancing drugs to make the games more entertaining for fans.

What came next can only be described as awkward. There was an intermission, during which DJ Trauma, played a short set of remixed rock and hip hop songs. Why this was awkward is that most of the crowd in the seated area seemed to be rich white people who couldn’t dance. And the worst part is that the dancing didn’t change, just the same dancing to different songs. This included a remix of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

After the dance party Jeff Ross came out to do a little more roasting and introduce Sarah Silverman who delivered her trademark raunchy with a heart of gold set. She ventured down into the crowd as well, toying with the crowd. She even got a man to admit that he would let God do sexual things to him. Her set also included musing about the idea that if women’s reproductive rights can be legislated, sperm should also be legislated. It was a solid set from a great comic.

On the opposite end of the energy spectrum from Sarah Silverman is Aziz Ansari who took the stage and destroyed the audience with laughter. His material ranged from comparing relationships to Skittles and salad and talking about the difference between men and women tweeting, walking around alone and that men basically need to stop being creepy and harassing women. He even fit an impersonation of the rapper Ja Rule into his set.

And then Jeff Ross came out one more time, this time the only light on stage was the spotlight. Gone were the accent lights on the curtains, all of the production value out the window. The White River Amphitheater had become the world’s largest black box theater. And that’s all the night’s headliner needed. Louis C.K. came onto the stage to a huge round of applause. After a couple minutes he informed the audience that we were all going to die eventually and that we paid to see him so we shouldn’t waste our time clapping. He is, in my opinion, the greatest living comic and how he started his show is one of the reasons. He’s honest, straight forward and bleak, and all of those factors were on display in yet another amazing set. He mused about many different things ranging from wondering if rats enjoy orgasms to toilets protesting and admitting that one of his daughters is his favorite. Watching Louis C.K. perform is cathartic and you get the feeling that you are watching a legend.

As Louis C.K. said his final joke it occurred to me that driving out of the venue was going to suck so I ran to my car, which sounds odd, but when you are running alongside thirty other people it’s normal.

The rest of the dates can be found at oddballfest.com with complete lineups for each date. Do yourself a favor and go to this show.

Check out the full photo gallery – right here.

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