Ivan Decker’s contribution to the series of standup specials shot at the Waldorf Hotel for thestandupcomedians.com is…get ready for it…perfect.
From start to finish, Decker hits all the right notes and delivers plenty of the sweet surreality and over-exaggeration that makes his material so damn distinctive.
Of course, the rawness of the filmed set should also be praised because it makes the whole 36 minutes feel very real, almost as if you were actually in the audience. It is very refreshing when compared to the often flimsily-edited stuff that can be found on TV (here’s lookin’ at you, Comedy Now…).
There are a few rough patches during Decker’s set, but fortunately not with his material. It’s with the audience. They seem to get a little lost in the crazy scenarios Decker jokes about at roughly the halfway mark. I still feel the set is perfect, though, because Decker himself never falters and even when the laughs get a little sparse, he pushes on and brings everyone back to full attention.
I’d like to share one of my favourite jokes from this special.
“Runners are fine. You never hear about runners in the news. It’s always like ‘raccoon mauls jogger!’ What happened to the runner? He was fine! He was ready. The raccoon came up and he kicked it into the center of the sun ‘cuz he’s a goddamn runner.”
And that alone is worth the five dollars it costs to own this brilliant performance.
I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say this set is perfect – it’s one of the stronger sets I’ve seen from Decker, but certainly not the best I’ve ever seen him do.
Decker’s larger-than-life stage presence translates beautifully to film. That’s a rare gift, and one that elevates this special from pretty good to damn good.
I was, again, glad to see the honest reaction of the audience instead of hearing canned laughter. As Brian mentioned, the crowd got a bit lost in spots, and it was particularly rewarding (from a comedy nerd perspective) to watch Decker draw them back in. Usually such moments would be edited out, and in this case, that would have been a shame.
My only real complaint was how short the set was. I wanted more! It was definitely a strong 36 minutes, but it would have been nice if he’d had more space to stretch his comedic legs. I’m just nitpicking, though, really.
Decker’s special is worth buying if you’re a fan, and if you’re not, it serves as a great introduction to what he can do.
If you want to purchase Ivan Decker’s special (which you should), or Graham Clark’s special (which you also should), or if you just want to wait and see all the other specials that will be released soon, visit thestandupcomedians.com.