Come And Take It (The Funny, I Mean), This Weekend
Generally speaking, I’m terrible when it comes to comedy. Don’t get me wrong; I like comedy, it cracks me up. Unlike music, though, I just don’t follow it like some people do, y’know? I’ve got friends I swear know and have seen or heard every comic working professionally today; my comedic knowledge basically includes stuff I listened to in high school (mostly courtesy of MTV’s Half Hour Comedy Hour, The State, and Eddie Murphy) and college (primarily Henry Rollins, MST3K, SNL, and Bill Hicks), plus Patton Oswalt, David Cross, and Louis CK, the three of whom I somehow found out about post-college.
And that’s it. It’s just not my thing, really — possibly partly because I’m terrible at it myself and can butcher a basic joke like few others can — so I focus on the music stuff more. We occasionally get comedy CDs sent our way here at SCR, and I get rid of those like they’re ticking timebombs, because I just cannot write about ’em and make any sense at all.
Again, though, I like comedy. My soul isn’t so black that I don’t like to laugh. So I’m psyched as hell that this weekend Warehouse Live will be hosting the first-ever Come And Take It Comedy Take Over, a full-on two-day (Sat., January 24th & Sun., January 25th) showcase of comedy both big and small, pairing up people even I’ve heard of, like Norm MacDonald and Todd Barry, with people most non-Houstonian-comedy fans have probably never heard of.
Yep, for $55 bucks for the weekend (or $35 for a single day), you can sit/stand and watch a ridiculously broad array of comedian-type people. It’s organized by the good people at Youngblood Booking (who were also response for Houston Whatever Fest back in the fall), and they’ve got a neat little promo up over here:
Now, I’m not familiar with a lot of the performers, and I can’t list ’em all here — check here for the full lineup and here for the set times — but this week I’ve been listening to several of the people who’ll be performing, just to see what it might be like, and it’s pretty damn impressive…
Norm MacDonald surprised me, honestly; it’s been a couple of decades since I last saw him do stand-up, so I didn’t have high hopes, but his most recent album is extremely good, and he’s one of the progenitors of the whole stumbling-over-your-words style of comedy. Fellow big-namer Maria Bamford is simultaneously insane and ridiculously funny, bouncing between different voices so fluidly I had to make sure she wasn’t actually talking to somebody in the audience. She’s got a true flair for taking everyday, normal situations and yanking them suddenly to a very dark place, a little like a friendlier-to-humans Amy Sedaris.
Todd Barry I remember listening to just after graduating from college, and I’m pleased to see/hear that he’s still out on the road cracking people up. Musical comedian Henry Phillips is pretty good, and Mike Lawrence‘s Sadamantium is fucking hysterical (and yes, I enjoy the nerd fodder he throws in there). And hey: Kevin McDonald! I think I forgot to put The Kids In The Hall on the list up there at the beginning…
The real surprise, though, came with the Texan comics I happened to listen to. Houstonian John Wessling is damn funny, although his Three Dart Rhino album is mixed kinda terribly, so that he’s often very quiet and hard to hear over the crowd. I’m liking Austin’s Adam Shumate and another Houstonian, Bob Biggerstaff, too.
By far, though, the comic I’m liking the best of the whole bunch is Beaumont’s Slade Ham. The guy is unapologetically dark and bleak, occasionally to the point of making me cringe, but at the same time, he’s funny as hell. “Half A Gremlin” and “Overtly American,” in particular, off his Three Legged Unicorn album, are awesome, awesome bits. I’m definitely going to have to try to catch his set sometime soon.
Obviously, the list of people performing goes a whole lot longer than that, and includes a ton of talented people yours truly has yet to see. I know local crazyman/conservationist Jacob Calle will be there, doing his Punk Rock Circus, and former music scribe-turned-comedienne Dusti Rhodes will be performing, as well, and folks more knowledgeable than me about Houston comedy will probably recognize names like Gabe Bravo and Ty Mahany, both of whom I’ve heard of but never actually seen or heard perform.
There’s also some oddball stuff going on besides the straight-up standup, like a performance by the Dem Damn Dames burlesque troupe, a movie showing or two, the aforementioned Punk Rock Circus, storytelling (I think?) with The Moth, podcasts (although I’ll freely admit that I have zero clue how that will work), something called the “Duncan Trussell Family Hour,” and naturally, an open-mic area for aspiring comics who aren’t on the bill.
Taken all together, this whole thing is quite an extravaganza; I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of anything quite like it before. Get on over to the Warehouse tomorrow & Sunday and bask in the warm glow of irrepressible laughter.