words by Klaus Kinski, photos by Bao Nguyen
As a person who gets pretty agitated when a schedule starts to fall apart before my very eyes, the fact that the Channel 101 show was running 45 minutes behind schedule had me wound pretty tight. Add to that the fact that we couldn't get The Perfect Storm's sampler working, forcing them to (rightfully) bail, and you've got a Klaus on your hands who's on the verge of frenzy. Luckily, a blown schedule and the loss of part of our line-up turned out to be really just minor bumps in what ended up being a completely off the hook night of comedy and music (May 5, 2008).
When I got to Pianos, somebody told me that a beardless Louis CK was hanging out and host Max Silvestri persuaded me to see if he'd want to do a set. He agreed on the condition that he could go on as early as possible in the show. I was beside myself with glee. However, we were plagued with delay upon delay, so much so that during Max's opening, Louis waved good-bye to me and left. I was heartbroken. But then a few minutes later he re-appeared, I gave Max the 'times-up' light, and Louis ended up doing nearly 20 minutes of completely new (to me at least) material. As already pointed out, his set really was mostly amazing. Like any comedian trying new material, some of his jokes didn't hit the mark, but even those were hilarious. Louis is beyond one of my favorites. He's almost a deity to me. The fact that he showed up to do a set was really a ridiculous honor.
The problem with Louis CK opening a comedy show with nearly 20 minutes of near perfect material is that he sets the bar pretty high for everyone else. Luckily, the rest of the line-up was completely up to the challenge. Max was a great host. His opening material and his between-acts material was solid, and his energy as a host really kept the momentum of the show rolling at a good clip. Greg Johnson is really one of the best up and coming comics in NYC (Eugene Mirman agrees) and he had the daunting task of following Louis. I see Greg do stand-up quite often so none of the jokes were new to me, but they all still made me laugh out loud. He crafts these really great, quick, sharp jokes that sort of remind me of an older style of comedy. He's awesome.
Following Greg was Kurt Braunohler who brought some fierce energy to the room which is exactly why I wanted him to do the show so badly. Kurt's usual comedy partner is Kristen Schaal and the stuff they do together is brilliant; but his solo stuff and the stuff he does with other people is as brilliant, if not more so. Last night he was accompanied by his security guard Mr. Bristles. I won't give it away as I don't want to spoil it for people who might end up seeing the bit he did last night in the future, but minds and pants were blown.
Bonnaroo-bound comedian John Mulaney ended the evening with a supremely tight and perfectly timed set. His movie idea about the people who were the recipients of Jerry Orbach's eyes was worth the price of admission alone.
So the night started off sort of shakey and my paranoia that the night was falling apart almost got the better of me, but this ended up being, for me, the best Rock n' ROFL yet. Sure, it ran later than most people are willing to endure on a Monday night, but from start to finish the comedy was as flawless as could be.
Pics & reviews of the War on Drugs & the Acorn coming soon!
Check out Max Silvestri's show every week now at Sound Fix in Brooklyn!
More pics of Louis CK from this show are HERE!