words by Jon Roren, photos by Marianne Ways
Todd Barry and Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo) @ Rififi, Feb 26, 2008
The penultimate Invite Them Up at Rififi Tuesday night (Feb 26, 2008) was perhaps as close to perfection as downtown comedy gets. It was also about as crowded as it gets. There were so many people that they had to open up the back room, put up a projection screen and seat people in there. This of course inspired some visual humor with Eugene Mirman standing in between rooms, watching himself in the back room while waving his arm in front of the camera in the main room a la "Spaceballs."
Bobby Tisdale started the show with a couple of videos he made for a new series called "Charlize Therond, Cat Chiropractor." The first one featured Zach Galifianakis and his cat Stevens. This got the crowd into a good energy which was maintained by opener Patrick Borelli. Patrick managed to upset a lady with a beehive hairdo by observing that she was calling attention to herself. Galifianakis lamented Beehive Lady's early exit before entertaining the crowd with a couple of high-concept promotional spots for Absolut that were made with and co-starring Tim & Eric from "Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job" which featured him sporting, yes, a beehive hairdo!
Bobby Tisdale brings Pete Holmes to the stage
TV's Pete Holmes came onstage prematurely before his intro (it was Bobby's fault). That led to some aggressive microphone ball-rubbing from Tisdale, and that set a weird tone that continued throughout Holmes' set, climaxing with some Halloween jokes he performed at ITU in October. Of course this then led Bobby to sing his hit song "Halloween (It Happened To Me)" when he returned to the stage.
Brett Gelman in need of a little bit o' luck
Little Bit O' Luck's Biggest Fan (Jon Daly)
You may have last seen Brett Gelman's giant head while riding the subway. Well, Tuesday night, Little Bit O' Luck sauntered onstage in a not-so little haze of drugged-out excess - showing us the dark side of commercial fame, only to be redeemed by his biggest fan as they slow danced to Michael Jackson's "The Man In The Mirror."
Leo Allen, Bobby Tisdale and Eugene Mirman
Leo Allen and Bobby Tisdale (30 seconds of standup)
Another ITU favorite Leo Allen closed out the first half of the show with masturbation and porn jokes for the over-30's crowd to a roomful of mostly twenty-somethings. He then returned to the stage after the break to introduce Bobby Tisdale for his first-ever "30 Seconds of Standup" (an Invite Them Up tradition that doesn't usually include the host of the show).
Todd Barry came up and touched base on a few of his best bits before ceding the stage for the final comedian of the night Andy Kindler. My first exposure to Kindler was through an episode of "Dr. Katz" back in the 90's. I enjoy watching him perform his shtick which has gotten increasingly bitter as time goes on. Apparently I'm the only one...as he pointed out from the stage amidst my lone cackling. He's right though. I probably am crazy.
Invite Them Up (Yo La Tengo)
James McNew of Yo La Tengo
Indie-rock stalwarts Yo La Tengo took the stage for a short set with guest drummer Todd Barry (the first time I ever saw Todd Barry perform was as the opener at a Yo La Tengo concert). The highlights were definitely their rendition of the 1964 Marcie Blaine classic "Bobby's Girl" (with the lyrics for the second chorus changed to "Eugene's girl") and a rocking version of "Big Day Coming."
Pete Holmes, Bobby Tisdale and Patrick Borelli
Andy Kindler, Dan Ahdoot and Jordan Carlos