words & photos by David Andrako
Daniel Kitson / Jim Gaffigan
The first show of the evening was held at Union Hall and was billed as "Montreal Callbacks" - a reference to the Montreal Comedy Festival. Kurt Braunohler began the show with a brief set before he assumed the role of host for the evening. The night featured young stand-ups many of whom can be found performing weekly at clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Mike Lawrence, Greg Johnson, Max Silvestri, Andrea Rosen, Ken Reid, Dan St. Germain and Hannibal Buress.
Highlights of the show included Ken Reid's set, which featured stories of his "white trash" childhood growing up in Massachusetts, Dan St. Germain's self depreciating tales of living in Brooklyn and Andrea Rosen recounting awkward encounters with celebrities and long lost friends. I caught the first few minutes of always great Hannibal Buress's set before heading off to The Bell House for the second show of the night.
Invite Them Up, the much beloved weekly comedy show that Eugene was involved with from 2005-2008 returned for a sold out performance at The Bell House. The show was again hosted by Bobby Tisdale, and featured performances by ITU co-host (and the host of the night) Eugene Mirman, A.D. Miles, , Maeve Higgins, Morgan Murphy, Reggie Watts, Daniel Kitson and special guest, Jim Gaffigan.
Jim Gaffigan, who headlines SIX shows at the Best Buy (formerly Nokia) Theater in December, was greeted with some of the loudest cheers of the evening and the fact that the comics from the earlier show had made their way down to The Bell House to watch his set from the back of the room speaks to his status as a massively respected comedian. His unannounced appearance strengthened an already packed show.
Daniel Kitson, the British stand-up and storyteller, ended the show with an hour long set that featured some impressive crowd work and allowed him to display his razor sharp commentary and lightning fast wit. After admitting that he "didn't have the professionalism to be a middle act," Kitson launched into quizzing audience members on their names and occupations only to later weave them all together in a freestyle rant comparing audience members to each other. In addition to his biting commentary, he wasn't afraid to display his vulnerability explaining that, "I'm quite lonely and I live alone. This is my chance to chat." He also addressed his stutter, which was apparent during his performance. At the age of 33, his stand-up act is impressive and made even more impressive by the fact that Kitson has turned down most television work in the US and Britain. He has performed both story shows and stand-up at the past eleven Edinburgh Fringe Festivals.
Dan St. Germain