Friday, June 25, 2010

Ding dong, Stand Up is Dead

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 4:58 PM

The Stand Up is Dead Comedy Tour featuring underground comics Steven Kendrick, Andrew Diens, Jarrod Harris and headliner Mack Lindsay took place at the Earl Wednesday, prompting me to wonder if stand up might actually have died. The room stood pretty barren at the time the show was intended to start, and so it was delayed one hour to appease to the seven more people that eventually came.

Local comedian Jarrod Harris performed first and struggled with the small audience, first joking about Atlanta before moving to material so vulgar people hung close to the back wall. His jokes started out crude and got even more outrageous as he settled into his balls-and-vagina-themed act. If Harris’ goal was to plant vile, offensive imagery in the audience’s head (“Her soul is probably a dark wall with a cum stain on it”), he succeeded.

Next was Andrew Diens. He didn’t appeal to the audience much either, maybe because he was delivering his material to a camera, slightly stuttering, using undulating pitches, and trying too hard to pull jokes from memory. He did have one highlight moment, though, involving pork-flavored sexual organs.

Joe Charles, who’s worked with Chris Rock, delivered a few hackneyed jokes about drugs in the beginning, but also had a couple of stand-out jokes about Iranian prohibition and the mechanics of tampons. He also had material that was true to the tour’s topic: He touched on the hardships of comedians, who, he says, have less prestige “than a butt-raper.”

While Steve Kendrick's voice may have been more grating (think Jewish grandmother meets Stone Cold Steve Austin) than the other comedians’, his jokes were less so. His routine included cracks about daddy issues, getting gypped on holidays, putting sins on Jesus’ tab, and dating a chick with a dude’s name. He also made good use of the stage and his body, even balancing his beer on his head at one point and spinning around, cracking “If this were the sobriety test in California, then I’d be allowed to drive drun— … well, drive.” Unlike the other comics, the crowd responded well to him.

As the headliner, Mack Lindsay sauntered on stage with the most flare, including special music and lights. The self-proclaimed “fucking fake motherfucker” quickly established that the crowd was made up of largely atheist, dumb ecstasy fans, and was in demand of a Bobby Hill impersonation.

Lindsay also succeeded in engaging the intimate crowd by bantering with the audience. People started to feel comfortable enough to move closer; one woman even climbing on stage to light his cigarette.

Lindsay’s act succeeded best out of the four because his comedy had substance rather than just shock value and vulgarity, and offered some solid advice for coming from a “fucking fake motherfucker:” “Anything short of doing what you love is slavery,” he said, following up with his dead-on impression of a vacuous L.A. Starbucks coworker cheering for being a part of a “soul sucking fucking animal” of a corporation.

In the end, it turned out that stand-up wasn’t dead, just floundering a bit in the absence of a spirited crowd.

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