Bert Kreischer – Hey Big Boy

Bert Kreischer – Hey Big Boy

Bert Kreischer, a big bubbling man I heard about in the way that one should hear about Bert Kreischer, from an annoying drunk man in front of a bar. “He’s the funniest comic!” this drunk man told after he saw that I had signed up for an open mic. “He takes his shirt off” It was with these words that I began to suspect that Bert Kreischer was not for me. Which is a little judgmental. 

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Eddie Pepitone – For the Masses

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I have never heard of Eddie Pepitone before seeing a fellow comic make a post about how great this special is on Facebook. I have amazon, which this special is free on, and I wanted to watch something new, so here I am. And I agree with that Facebook comment, this was an unexpectedly great comedy special.

Eddie Pepitone is an older man, with a mangled set of teeth in his mouth. He has not been given a comedy special based on his marketability. He’s old, he’s overweight, he’s ugly, and his comedy isn’t’ the kind of easy to get into stuff that a Kevin Hart type can give. He’s angry and jarring and makes offhand comments about Dostoevsky. He makes fun of the middle states while complaining about the freeways of LA. On the stage behind him there are books scattered about. This is a semi-traditional look, that makes the special background feel kind of efforted to me. Did those books come from Eddie Pepitone? Are they just books by the yard thrown in the back to show off the vibe that Pepitone wants to give? Are they books that the theatre has for these special comedy moments? Maybe Pepitone requires a large amount of books to be placed behind wherever he performs comedy. That would be an annoying hassle.

Pepitone’s delivery is the work of a master. He goes from being angry and yelling to undercutting it with a passive calm voice. It’s great, immediately it’s unexpected, but the consistent ramping up and instant lower of the voice adds so much depth to the special. He’s angry, we all are, but he’s also thoughtful. His jokes go off into unexpected directions. He has a joke about how he supports the Me Too movement, because he wants people to stop propositioning him after shows. He tells a joke about his wife falling in love with him after he read a poem under her window, and then reads a Bukoski poem at full volume “THE FUCKING POST OFFICE IS A NIGHTMARE. I read that under her window and she was mine”

One of my favorite jokes has Pepitone saying that he wishes that Trump would just come out in Joker makeup, and slit his mouth like the Joker. That it would make more sense. Then he does, in a small Joker impression “Isn’t Betsy DeVos, wonderful, (Joker Laugh),” this line had hysterics. It’s the delivery where he does just the smallest impression, along with the inner anger of the content of the joke.

This is one of the best specials of the year. I haven’t heard Pepitone before but his delivery is masterful. He’s able to undercut himself without reducing his points. He feels so human on stage. The struggle he presents, of his internal debating, is so vividly and colorfully realized that you can’t help but to relate to some aspect of it.

For some reason there is a lot of technical information available about this special from the director and the cinematographer. It was shot with 6 cameras. You don’t usually get these kinds of details. It’d be nice to know what their sound system was.

Five out of Five

Sam Jay – 3 In The Morning

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Sam Jay had a great first album “Donna’s Daughter,” it’s great to see someone like her get a Netflix special. Someone young, black and queer. Jay is cool and young, and feels like a strong middle ground between alternative comedy and club comedy.

The special has a ton of warm colors. There is an orange glow across the stage. The stage is a classic black curtain that is highlighted with the orange light. Jay wears a busy polo that has black and yellow stripes and a line of numbers diagonally across the front and a large brown patch on the back of the shirt. The collar looks like corduroy. It’s a fun shirt that fits well with the color palette of the special. Some of the camera work is a little shaky, but it often cuts particularly close to Jay’s face during these moments, which let’s viewers focus on small facial expressions.

She opens with a joke about how she’s in Atlanta, and the place she’s performing is close to where she’ picked up the last guy she was with. This leads her into talking about how much she hates dicks, and eventually getting to a part that’s in the trailer for the special about her going everywhere with her girlfriend. Even in this opening part, there is an effortlessness in how she’s able to transition between ideas and jokes.

She’s able to bring in important ideas and bring them to the same level as her personal stories without lessening the idea or feeling preachy. She talks about how representation matters, and makes a joke about how she thought the only way to be a black dyke was to be on crack.

An overarching element of the special is that she’s traveling to Europe with her girlfriend. She tells a story about taking mushrooms and then going to a museum, then on the ride back, a cab driver comments on her american accent. Then she says she wouldn’t defend america. “We’re better than Trump? We’re a country of Golden Corral Buffets”

She has a longer bit about how we need trans women because they will be the women to join the NFL. There is obviously no ill will intended in the bit, but it doesn’t really come off well. I have never seen a comic, including a gay comic, who wasn’t trans who has benefitted from centering a joke on trans people. She then does a joke about why she’s not a feminism, and makes a joke about finding Me too being silly after Aziz Ansair’s story happened. These are very politically charged topics that anyone in the audience will have opinions already. I don’t think that Jay articulates a opinion that seemed necessary to comment on either situation, though the Ansair joke is a stand out from this section.

Sam Jay shows a lot of promise, and is very engaging. There are few true laugh out loud moments in the special and steam runs low towards the middle of the show. The trans and feminism bit is distracting to her overall charm.

3 out of 5 stars.

Jimmy Yang – Good Deal

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Jimmy Yang is known for his role on Silicon Valley. I read his book a while back, and was not impressed. But I did end up having to buy it, because my dog ate it, (it was a library book–my dog wasn’t loose in a Target). Why couldn’t my dog eat a Simon Rich book? I also found his character on Silicon Valley to be one of the least interesting parts of the show. That’s not necessarily anything to do with him, just that the writer’s don’t give him much to do, and it’s hard to upstage TJ Miller, which is his character on the show plays off of. This special looks interesting with vertical glowing lines. Yang is dressed simply, but nicely. He has the vibe of a nerdy guy who listens to rap to the horror of his parents, but is still good enough to get decent grades. This juxtaposes against the harsh word choice of many of his jokes where he allows himself to be dirty. But his delivery doesn’t work with this, he does not have a delivery style that plays with how he looks.

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Kathleen Madigan – Greatest Bits Vol 1

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Kathleen Madigan is a seasoned comic who has been putting out quality material for decades. A lot of times comics never rehash old bits– which is too bad. Once they put out a special they never do those jokes again– as if the product is the special. When I go to see a comic I love hearing their older jokes; ones that I watched in their special. I would love to go see John Mulaney and him do his signature bits. But I understand developing new material, and having the ambition to put out new material. Madgian revists older material on this album, where every track is fully fleshed out and brought to it’s best point.

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Eric Andre – Legalize Everything

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Eric Andre is a wild energy, known for his show on adult swim. He’s unlike anything else, and it’s great. But if you look at his earlier stand up before he did the show, it’s not super impressive. His show is full of hilarious antics that are surprising, and push the envelope on what we can do in comedy. He’s very liberal, but is willing to make jokes that don’t necessarily easily fit in with the liberal politics that our facebook feeds are full of.

The set up of the special is relatively simple: Andre has two stools on stage. One for his water and towel– which he needs, and another that he sits on at various points. Andre wears a pink shirt, and grey sweatpants, a very low key look. The background is a brown grey, with lights at the back bottom of the stage. The audience is a stage seating, much like the mercury ballroom in my city, Louisville. You have people standing on the second level, which adds a sense of energy, and makes the room feel really full like it’s a party.

There is a lot of drugs and sex material. “We have arrived at the bukake part of the set” and then people high five, and pump their fists. I don’t know what bukake is, but he explained. A lot of feels like the same old same old drug and sex stuff you’ve heard or seen on the interent for years, but Andre has mor energy than anyone you’ve seen. His comedy looks like a workout. When he says he popped a blood vessel in asshole you kind of believe it. There is a point where Andre tells us that he wanted to open the show by doing a Louie CK, and just come on stage and start mastbating on everyone. This is Andre at his best, making fun of the shitties people, in a wild over the top way. It’s both a little violent, but it’s violence is used to point out the shittesness of that guy.

There is a point where he asks anyone if they’ve seen their parents fuck. Some folks raise their hands, and Andre focuses on one guy and gives him a mic and asks him for the story. The guy says a few things, not much, and then Andre brings an older couple on stage. They start ripping each other’s clothes out and making out. It doesn’t go much further than that, but it’s a fun moment in the special. It could have gone further, maybe in the none filmed version he take it further and you got to see those older people fuck. As it is, it’s a silly moment that doesn’t really go anywhere, even though it’s full of wild energy. I wish that elerly couple really fucked.

This special is wild, and I don’t think it’s a great stand up, but it does make me want to be in that room. It makes me want to go see him, just to be around the people who would go see Eric Andre– that’s where I might find a cool person to date, even if I can’t whole hearted clap when he’s like “Where my weed smokers at!” The special is part wild kegger energy, and part millennials liberal lecture. But mostly it just makes me want more of Eric Andre’s antics, which don’t always translate smoothly to stand up comedy.

Marc Maron – End of Times Fun

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Marc Maron has a new Netflix comedy special! It’s low key, with mellow energy and has more interesting ideas than really great jokes. But it’s nice. Obviously Marc Maron is better known for other things than his stand up. He does his podcast, which I only listen to when there are guests I really really love– like St. Vincent. He is also great in the Netflix show Glow, when I first saw him I didn’t recognize him, but also I wasn’t into comedy so I wasn’t looking for him.

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Taylor Tomlinson – Quarter-life crisis

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Taylor Tomlinson has been around for a while. She’ll come to the midwest with some frequency. It surprised me to see that she got a Netflix special, not because she’s bad or anything– she’s just young and less established than others who do. I mean Marc Maron and Tom Segura are the other people who have Netflix specials coming out around the same time. I think I have a notebook somewhere where someone said that I might be able to book her for a few hundred dollars. I’m sure that has changed by now though.

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Dragon Quest Your Story

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I love the Dragon Quest games. I have played about five of them, there are eleven mainline games, but I have not played Dragon Quest V, which this movie is based on. Dragon Quest is huge in japan, but has never done very well here. This was a huge movie in japan, but didn’t get a theatrical release, or even a very big Netflix release. But I care! So here are some thoughts.

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