Saturday, May 4, 2013

Stand-up Comedians That Don't Suck

As a general rule, I hate stand-up comedians.  They're terrible people complaining about their terrible relationships and making observations that only serve to display their own stupidity.  The relationship stand-up comedian is by far the worst, both men and women.  They complain about the annoying things their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife do, but the only thing I hear is, "I'm a terrible person, and I'm blaming it on someone else."  There are also comedians who have a character that they put on display, and the character itself is meant to be as funny as any of the jokes.  Sometimes the character is nothing more than a funny voice that the comic uses.  Bobcat Goldtwait and Mitch Hedberg are two that come to mind.  Mitch Hedberg I find especially annoying because the Internet as a whole worships him as a god.  I suppose that should be expected, since he's basically Philosoraptor with an annoying voice.

Also, Mitch Hedberg is dead.  Has been since 2005.  I just learned that now as I researched him for this blog entry.  I guess that's why it's been a while since I saw him on Just For Laughs.

Despite everything I just said, there are a handful of comedians that I find hilarious.  Here they are:

Louis CK

I just finished telling you about how I hate comedians who complain about relationships.  Louis CK is an exception for three reasons.  First of all, he doesn't just talk about relationships.  He also makes commentary on modern society that's pretty damn funny.  Second of all, he fully accepts that his bad relationships are at least partially his fault.  And third, after he and his wife divorced, he stopped talking about how horrible his marriage was as often.  But even when he was talking about how awful marriage and home life was, I still found it funny, even though I couldn't personally relate.  I think it's because I sometimes see the man I easily could have been.

Louie's social commentary is his strength, in my opinion.  Let me see if I can find some good clips.

I picked a video with Russian (?) subtitles because I know a large percentage of my followers are former KGB officials who fled Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr is an Irish-born British comedian who I just recently gained an appreciation for, and is actually the inspiration for this post.  I've known about him for a while, but I never paid a lot of attention until YouTube kept recommending that I watch some of his videos.  In the past, I've always brushed him off as very dry and stuck-up, but as I watched his videos in the last few days, I've come to realize that, while he often uses snottiness as a comedic device, he isn't dry at all.  Oh, he can use a deadpan delivery with the best of them, but I wouldn't call him dry, and he isn't always deadpan.  In fact, a lot of his jokes are very irreverent.  I would say that his specialty is the surprise punchline.  He'll be setting up a joke, and it'll end either sooner than you were expecting, or in a place that you weren't expecting.  He also has some of the best audience interactions I've seen from a stand-up.

(This is titled "The Nasty Show" for a reason.  It's all of his dirtiest jokes.)

In this clip, he actually invites questions from the audience.  In effect, he's inviting hecklers:

Patton Oswalt

The first I ever heard of Patton Oswalt was actually in the Pixar movie Ratatouille.  He did the voice of the main character, Remy the rat.  His stand-up is absolutely nothing like his performance in Rataouille.  His target audience is not at all the same as Disney's.

Patton is basically the king of the nerds.  He's a Generation X'er who loves Star Wars and comic books.  He talks a lot about pop culture, which I enjoy.  He's also clinically depressed and an atheist, which feature prominently in his stand-up.  The thing I love about his act is that he has such a passion and energy for his material, and his view points on them are very unique.

John Mulaney

John Mulaney is a young, small, harmless looking man who can tell an anecdote like nobody else can.  He's a writer for Satuday Night Live, and his stand-up routine is hilarious.  It's mostly just him telling stories about his own life, and he always cracks me up.  Sometimes he'll tell a joke, and then later in his act tell another joke that only makes sense if you remember the first joke.  For example, he equated his parents hiring a 13-year-old to babysit him when he was 10 to hiring a horse to look after your dog.  Much later in his hour-long act, he was telling another story about a party that got out of hand in high school.  He said that the kids at the party were "like a bunch of dogs without any horses."  It's like he's rewarding people for paying close attention.

My favourite story by far his story about going to the doctor for a Xanax prescription.  I apologize for the quality of this video, but it's the best I could find on YouTube:

This one has better video quality, but the audio isn't synced properly.  I'm such a failure.

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