Wednesday, August 22, 2012

8/9/12 Joel Lindley, Chet Wild, Jordan Hernandez and Rick Matthews

It was a bonus night at The Comedy Club, with four performers slated to take the stage. Rick Matthews got things rolling admirably with his marriage and fatherhood material, quickies (Women can multi-task. I can’t even task.) and weight loss bits. My favorite remains his whole discussion around big guys getting nicknames, usually from their cute female friend who says they’re just like a big teddy bear who makes them feel safe. “Just because we can’t see our dicks doesn’t mean we no longer want to use them.” His turning the tables, wanting to curl up on those big bean-bag girls, gets me every time I hear it. Rick’s coming along as an MC, and will be performing in the semi-finals of the Funniest Person in Rochester contest.

Jordan Hernandez looks like he should be in a boy band, but can certainly hold an audience’s attention when he’s telling jokes. It seemed roughly 80% of the room had come to support him while he discussed not knowing how to pick up girls (who needs a GTO when they’ve got a GPA?), using song lyrics as pick up lines and being able to do jokes about Hispanics because he’s half Puerto Rican and therefore at least partially PC. Kudos for also bringing back the word “super duper” without being a bubblegum popping, pig-tailed tween or Big Gay Al.

Chet Wild worked the crowd with his usual flair, taking them through his grandma’s birthday card, missing kidney and social media bits with energy and ease. It’s no secret that Chet is one of my local favorites; he delivers more consistently than any other comic I’ve seen in the past year and he believes in putting in the hard work to better his act.

Finally, it was time for our headliner.

I made things a bit awkward with Joel Lindley by asking him, while sharing the judges’ booth during the quarterfinals of the contest, whether or not he had seem the review I did of his February show with Jim Norton. He said no. I told him he would not enjoy it, as I had not really found him funny. That led to a Q & A session about what it was exactly that I hadn’t cared for, after which I assured him I try to be in the moment for each show and review only what I’m actually seeing. I promised I would be listening with fresh ears this time.

As I explained in my Marianne Sierk review, if I don’t find myself enjoying a show, I always want to know why. I try to analyze every aspect, from physical presence and word choice to persona and delivery, attempting to pinpoint exactly what it is that isn’t reaching me. I listened with the intention of identifying those lines that did make me laugh, and I was successful.

Here are just a few: Jesus being a carpenter – not necessarily the sort you’d expect would go to trade school; Once you go white, you’ll be very pleased with your decision; I’m ready to meet a nice girl, settle down and then start cheating on her. I also really dug the two math-related questions: What’s 2A + 2B? ABBA? What’s pi r squared? Pop Tart? There were a few more sprinkled throughout the set. I also like the closer about going to a gun shop and messing with the salesperson.

There remain pieces of Joel’s routine that I still don’t find funny. The audience piece where he applies the bouncer voice to their real-life profession really doesn’t amuse me, but I can’t tell if it’s because the bit isn’t clever or if the voice is so overly annoying.

One thing hasn’t changed since February. The audience still loves Joel Lindley. He’s still professional, polished and popular. Joel is still everything a comic of his stature should be, and I can appreciate that. This time around, I even found reasons to laugh. Follow Joel at the usual places, Twitter and Facebook.

Next up, some words about Laugh Riot Productions.

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