Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Some Seriously Funny shit at Smith's Olde Bar

Posted By on Wed, Jun 2, 2010 at 9:13 PM

seriouslyfunny

Last night I went to see the inaugural The Seriously Funny Show … Seriously, at Smith’s Olde Bar. The show was put together by Atlanta comedians Justin Morgan and Jarrod Harris, and will now be at Smith’s Olde Bar every Tuesday night in June at 9 p.m. Morgan explained that the show was put together to showcase some of the best local talent Atlanta’s comedy scene has to offer, and so while the room, set-up and number of comedians performing (eight) made it feel like an open-mic, it was anything but a painful-to-watch “come try out comedy if you think you’re funny” type of show. As host, Morgan kept the room light and laughing in between sets. He pointed out that his mom was in the audience, and that he particularly enjoyed watching her shake her head with arms folded as another comedian made a joke about butt-fucking, because that ensured him that she had never done that.

Each of the comedians that took the stage had strong sets, displaying different styles and paces to their acts, but all unified in a common mission to create the alternative, avant-garde brand of comedy that characterizes Atlanta’s underground scene. All of the comedians’ material leaned on the dark side of culture, but was delivered in a playful and skillfully humorous enough way to let the audience feel comfortable laughing at normally touchy topics.

The first comedian of the night, Keenan Burton, took the stage with a seemingly peculiar sense of bravado, as the heavyset and unkempt comedian would sing T-Payne’s “Take Your Shirt Off” in between punchlines. He mentioned that he liked his name, Keenan, because it’s a bad-ass name, but he wanted an even cooler name, an acronym name like rappers have, so he settled on Mr. February – Fucking Every Bitch Right Up the Ass. Really? Yea!

Trey Toler was second, and he had some good lines about Facebook, while he amused the crowd with his flamboyance and proclivity to abbreviate words mid-conversation … or as Trey might say, mid-conversaish. Connor Barrett came up third and performed my favorite 10-minute set of the night. With an understated, I-don’t-want-to-be-here demeanor, he rattled off hilariously disturbing thoughts and random observations. He remarked that he and his girlfriend had been saving up $1,200 for the last few months so she could get an MRI, and “there’s nothing worse then spending a lot of money just to get bad news, like … There’s NOTHING wrong with her. For $1,200 I’m not saying I wanted her to have a bunch of cancer, but she could have at least had a little bit of cancer.”

Dan Weeks hit clean-up in the fourth spot, and between spontaneous rants at audience members interrupting his punchlines, he dropped a few nuggets of comedy gold. While discussing tattoos that people regret, he showed the audience the Chinese letters he has tattooed on his arm that mean “music and laughter.” He then joked that “it would be less gay if I got a tattoo of two Chinese men giving each other a blowjob.”

Tanner Inman came up next and was his usual wacky self. With a set that’s always looking to push boundaries and comfort levels in the room, he ended on a Holocaust joke and simply walked off stage. Brian Bannon, dubbed “the Prince of the Star Bar,” followed Inman and brought his off-the-charts intelligence and social awkwardness to the stage. He waxed philosophical about Langston Hughes being a musical genius, but a dick in real life, and wondered whether the musical jazz patterns he created were to the rhythms of his domestic violence, thus women-beating unintentionally birthing “the cool.”

The final two performers of the night form 2/4 (or 1/2, if you’re into simplest terms) of the comedic quartet the Beards of Comedy. Andy Sandford came out and demonstrated the clever penmanship that has earned him a devoted following around town, masterfully telling rape and abortion jokes that managed to be truly funny, not tasteless. He also shared with the crowd that he “did just save a bunch of money on his car insurance … by canceling it.”

Dave Stone closed the show talking about being so broke that while ordering his 99 cent doublestack at Wendy’s, he fantasized about the day he could afford to order the $4 Bacon Bleu Cheese burger they have. “$4.29 – is that the best price you can do for that model? ... Alright let me move some money around, and I’ll be back on Friday.”

All in all, the show went great. While Smith’s Olde Bar needs to work out some acoustic kinks — the music from upstairs could be heard throughout the night  — the comedy itself was a great representation of all that’s good about Atlanta’s growing comedy scene. Comedians who are skilled writers and performers, in it for the craft as much as the fame (still yet to come), and open-minded audiences that give them the freedom to test any material that their warped little comedic minds can conceive. I'll be back next Tuesday.

Tonight I’ll be checking out Phat Comedy’s free show at 255 Tapas Lounge at 9:30 p.m. Karlous Miller is the host and he never disappoints.

(Photo courtesy Justin Morgan)

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