Sunday, April 5, 2009

Comedy Slip Ups 101: The Man Who Filmed Too Much

Comedy in Chicago is like cheese steak in Philadelphia, or crime in Detroit. Chicagoans have perfected the art of self loathing and comic timing into to a profound stew of improv and stand-up. On any given night, drunken patrons can go out and watch people flinch, murmur, and dick joke their way through an endless cavalcade of sets.

Stand up comedy in Chicago, while not as prolific as improv, still has a grand comedic foothold in the stinking onion. The deal with stand up is there are very few stand up comedians, there are however, thousands of Def Comedy Jam copy-cats, retail employees, jilted lovers, and men with under-rated genitalia. These folks are the foot soldiers who populate the world of stand-up in Chicago.

A great place to catch an angry twenty something prattle on about his 'hot' but 'crazy' ex-girlfriend is The Edge Comedy Club, located in the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts in Chicago's River North area. The club is housed within an impressive theater space and the organization hosts sets all week long. On a cold Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to catch The Handsome Bastards stand up review. The review was a mixed bag of horrendous amateurs, weirdly over seasoned vets, conceptual drunks and frat boy idiots.

One particular comic caught my attention and brought to light something no young comedian should ever do: Bring your own Sony handi-cam with an accompanying tri-pod and film your own set. I watched helplessly as the young acerbically awkward comedian finished his set about masturbating and slowly began dismantling his own handi-cam - like an Italian grandmother at a first communion . It instantly made him unfunny and it made me sad. After this event, I could not keep my eyes off of this ego-centric nut bag, and I watched him pack up his handi-cam and text message his friends as he pretended to watch the other comics. I felt sorry for this youthful moron in all of his self centred glory. When the ancient Israelites escaped the tyranny of the Egyptians and invented comedy, I doubt they pictured it would all come down to this.

A Lesson for Young Comics:

If you want to know how good your set is, have a friend film you. If you don't have any friends, you're going to be a great stand-up comedian.

The Edge Comedy Club

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