SNL’s Michael Che playing the Cellar, did Jean & John who covered Mountain Goats
Jean and John is a hilarious, well-produced, monthly variety and game show at The Bell House hosted by rapper and comedian Jean Grae and actor and comedian John Hodgman. They invite celebrity guests and some audience members on stage to spin the wheel of topics, which determines what they'll talk about next. Topics at February's post-Valentine's Day show -- which had me laughing out loud all night -- included Black Panther (which was opening that night; Jean was very upset to be missing it), the Quincy Jones interview, Star Trek Discovery, public school, eating human flesh and more. Special guests at this show were Aparna Nancherla (who carries her laundry over her shoulder to the laundromat) and Michael Che (who has yet to see a film starring Stormy Daniels).
And there is music. A very talented band led by saxophonist Alison Shearer opens the show, backs Jean and John in an opening number, soundtracks the wheel spinning throughout the night, provides the rim shots and even some jokes of their own, and closes out the night with a dance party. February's show featured a love-themed opening medley that included Diana Ross and Lionel Richie's "Endless Love" followed by Mr. Hodgman doing a most excellent cover of "No Children" by The Mountain Goats. The crowd was especially hyped for the latter. Watch part of that:
There wasn't a single person on stage over the course of the night that didn't have the room's full attention, but Michael Che's commanding and very funny (and a little drunk) presence turned things up another notch. Jean congratulated him on his promotion to head SNL writer, and we got to hear about some skits he wrote that never made the show. He also talked a bit about "Black Church" -- both the actual religious/cultural meaning of that, and the new live show he did/does at Comedy Cellar, named after -- he said (not an exact quote) -- a place where it's still safe for black people to say anything.
I don't know if this next one will be another edition of "Black Church", but we happened to notice that Michael Che has a "pop up show" listed on the Comedy Cellar reservations page for Tuesday, 2/20 @ 9pm (and remember, if you don't get a reservation, there's always the stand-by line).
Meanwhile, the next edition of Jean and John will take place at the Bell House on March 15 and tickets for that are on sale now (guests may or may not be announced at a later date).
Mountain Goat John Darnielle also has shows coming up.
Oh, and Jean did finally get to see Black Panther: