Thursday, July 12, 2012

Jamie Lissow, Katie Lane and Pam Werts

Josh Potter gets smoother, more relaxed, every time I see him, and this week his handling of the MC duties was perfect.

Katie Lane from Buffalo did the first guest spot of the evening. The tour she led us on included the homeless people sleeping in her $600 Craig’s List crackhead Beamer, the billboard reminder for men to “take time to be a dad today,” and the guy she’s currently seeing. Well, not seeing; he’s a one night stand that just won’t stop texting her. She says she’s no longer marketable now that she’s been spayed, but I believe funny, cute blonds with tied tubes will always be in demand.

Speaking of in demand, the second special guest of the evening was Pam Werts, who continues to improve every time she takes the stage. Pam was working some new material into her set – though Nascar itself is a fairly ordinary topic (always with the left hand turns), the interesting sights we’d see on the car cam if she were losing control in the middle of a race was a novel approach. Pam will be competing in this year’s Funniest Person in Rochester contest and I‘m looking forward to what she chooses as her best five minutes.

Two female guest spots is a rare happening at The Comedy Club, which Jamie Lissow acknowledged from his opening line, “Wow! The tits and then the jokes – I was not expecting that.” I don’t have a great segue into the next paragraph, but I liked that line so much, I didn’t want to leave it out.

Because we have the fortune of knowing Jamie as hometown hero and Wease show fixture, I think we sometimes fail to acknowledge how funny he is. We are a little jaded, the way I get when friends from other states tell me they can’t wait to bring their kids to the Strong Museum of Play and check out the National Toy Hall of Fame. I pause, blink a few times, and wonder why they’re so excited to enroll their child in the Future Wegmans Customer Training Derby (although any store currently being called the Anti-Walmart deserves my undying loyalty). I easily forget how much fun it was to find myself on Sesame Street that first time, using the giant magnet letters to spell out a love message to my future husband. When something is so close, so seemingly accessible, it’s easy to lose your appreciation for it. I think Jamie inherently understands this concept.

Spend a night at The Comedy Club watching him headline, though, and you quickly remember just how lucky we are to have him here. Armed with excellent timing and great physical awareness, he turns ordinary thoughts and common cliches (The Chinese put a woman in space. That’s a good place for her to be driving.) into sharp observations that always feel in-the-moment. His go-to audience work tends to hover around college – who went where, what was your major? He’s got a great list of lines ready to go in whatever direction the crowd leads: A history major? That’s the only major where you can be done. We’re up to today, let’s go drink until there’s more. His bit about performing in Alabama and asking about college feels like a classic, something I could be reciting to friends now the way I used to repeat Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” Well, you know, only friends who already know what a comedy geek I am. It’s probably not material.

Jamie runs the gamut from topical humor to everyday annoyances, but when he talks about his home life, his marriage and being a father, he is truly in his element. He’s still selling a little sense of wonder when he reminds the audience that they can actually make a person. He can’t make a desk, but he can make a little guy who runs around his house. The jokes come fast, and in no time we go from his son’s car bed and his unwanted Michael’s shopping trip, to times when wearing a wedding ring can be inconvenient. We relate the entire way. The other really fun element of Jamie, for me, is his seemingly endless supply of quickies: “The Civil War is a misnomer.” “People say they read the Bible every day. Finish it. It’s not that long.”

I could go on and on here, but why read my rewriting of great material when you can hear it for yourself? Go to and see what he’s up to. Buy “12 Drink Minimum” on iTunes. If you’re lucky, maybe you can score a copy of “Words,” an older cd that truly lets Jamie’s wit shine. Then follow him on Twitter – he’d appreciate it. And see him live, whenever, wherever you can. I know it’s hard to appreciate a treasure that sits in your back yard – Buffalo folks, visit the Falls much? – but don’t let proximity cause you to miss out. Jamie Lissow is an excellent comedian; the fact that he’s also a native son should only make you smile more.

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