Yes, this is a list of six. I'm the only one in the business doing lists of this length. I hope you liked my previous post on my favorite sketches. Now let's talk about stand up.
Eddie Griffin - You Can Tell Em I Said It
I think this is the best first line of any comedy special. George Carlin did really well with his abortion joke opening back in 1996, but this opening is just straight up ridiculous. Eddie Griffin doesn't care about making a political point. He just wants people to laugh. If you watch this entire special I think the word ridiculous will come to mind over and over and over. The things he says sometimes are so dumb, but you cannot help but laugh. This special reminds me why I like comedy. Because it's FUN. There's no agenda. Even when he talks about religion he does it in such a way that you can't tell if he's serious or not. He also does this thing where he thinks he's sounding smarter than he is and you end up laughing because you can't take him seriously even though he's so confident. Also, regarding the opening, he forgot to mention Jackie Kennedy who was definitely super hot.
Maria Bamford - Paula Deen
I love how Maria can make a dark topic funny in a stand up routine. This is not easy at all. Dark comedy is usually better suited for sketches because it's such a niche. People who like it can seek it out. But Maria does it for a broad audience at the Laugh Factory. If you've ever been to the Laugh Factory you know that the audience is a very general cross section of the population. If you make people laugh here, it means that your material is universal. Bill Hicks was a dark comic, but people weren't always laughing. He's more notorious. Maria Bamford is funny and silly first.
Don Novello - Economics
Don generally always does stand up as Father Guido Sarducci. I think the humor of this character comes from the fact that as a person of the church he is a high authority, but the things he talks about are so minute. The contrast creates a fun irony. The ridiculous things he says are extra funny because he delivers them so matter-of-factly. I know Don personally and have performed with him a few times. He gave me a signed copy of his legendary book The Lazlo Letters.
Paul F Tompkins - Peanut Brittle
I'm embarrassed to say that I watched this clip for the first time very recently. I was taking Steve Martin's Masterclass and he was talking about beating a dead horse. You can make something funny by harping on the same idea over and over and over. This is much easier said than done. Most people who harp on a point do so in a predictable and boring way which is why "beating a dead horse" has a negative connotation. I honestly don't know why this peanut brittle bit works so well. I mean I know it's ridiculous that this "prank" could ever scare anyone, but I don't really understand why it keeps being funny every single time he talks about how common peanut brittle is. That's why I love this clip so much. When I listen to this joke I don't feel like a stand up comedian, I feel like a fan of stand up comedy. Another popular example of beating a dead horse in comedy is Bill Hick's joke about marketing.
Patton Oswalt - Vomit Bag
I think about this joke ALL THE TIME. At 3:24 is when it builds to the best part. The act out that starts "madam, I know you find me repulsive..." is such a vivid experience. Patton Oswalt is really good at helping you imagine a scene. I can totally picture some medieval courtship in which this man poetically tries to woo his lady with his ability to throw up. I laugh so hard when he talks about leaving the tuna sandwich from 7-11 on the dashboard of his car. How detailed and silly is that?
Erik Myers - Taco Bell
Erik Myers is a character. We've hung out a few times and he is a sweet and genuine guy. The only wrinkle in his personality is that he loves crack and alcohol. We met while I was working at the Punch Line in Sacramento. Btw, I'll be at the Sacramento Punch Line this Sunday for the Green Room if anyone is interested. I've heard the same thing about Erik from many many comedians. "Erik is fire on stage, but he's a total wildcard off stage". Anyway, I think he's working his best on getting clean and he seems to be productive these days. The Laugh Factory appears to be helping him create a web series. This Taco Bell bit is hilarious because when he gets mad you can tell where that anger is coming from. This is a man who is down and out and has absolutely so outlet or recourse. The pain is real and hilarious because of how low he has had to sink. I am a huge fan and I hope to have him on The Los Angeles Setup at some point.