Bob Odenkirk and David Cross hosted the final night of the Vancouver ComedyFest this Saturday at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts and brought some of their comedian friends with them. Amanda took pictures [above] and I have the duty of the review. So here it is.
Bob and David hosting the closing gala was exciting for two reasons. First, it’s Bob and David, creators of the influential HBO series Mr. Show. Second,
this was their first time performing together in 10 years it was a rare opportunity to see the two comedians together on stage since Mr. Show ended in 1998. Their sketches were spread throughout the show, so I’ll get to them at the end.
The rest of the evening was filled with stand-up. First to take the stage was Chicago native Matt Braunger. Braunger was comfortable on stage and seemed to resonate with the audience, but I found him run-of-the-mill. He had his moments, but he could have been swapped out with any other middling comedian and it would have made no difference.
Following Braunger was Chelsea Peretti. Peretti is quickly becoming a household name and her credits, which include writing for The Sarah Silverman Program and Parks and Recreation, along with her acerbic wit that shines in her stand-up, are proof why. Peretti was quick to discuss the idiosyncrasies of male and female comics and make fun of them. The best part was that she never came off as a female comic trying to be just like the men. She was her own brand of funny. It was refreshing and she was a stand-out of the night, for sure.
Next was Josie Long, all the way from England. Long was the absolute best part of the night. I was in hysterics when she read excerpts from Charles Darwin’s letters while adding her comedic touch to the end of each of them. Her comedy is intelligent without being pretentious and I absolutely love it.
Long then introduced Nick Thune to the stage where he blended guitar strums with one-liners and a story about back-flips. In all honesty, it was boring and tedious. I’ve seen too many comedians play guitar while spouting off quick jokes and it’s a trend that I find is becoming too overplayed (no pun intended.) Thune’s style just didn’t mesh with the fervor the rest of the show was providing.
After a short intermission, it was Tim Heidecker’s turn to make the audience laugh. Heidecker, who you might know from the Adult Swim show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, earned the most laughs of the night from the crowd. His persona of a clumsy comedian with lame jokes was pretty damn funny. It was definitely more of a sketch than stand-up, considering Heidecker’s sketch comedy background, but it’s always nice to see comedy that stretches into two different territories.
The final stand-up comic of the night was Marc Maron, host of the extremely popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron. Maron has an incredible knack for storytelling. His set was essentially one long story about his fear of flying and it flowed so smoothly and was packed with so much observational humour that it made me wish for more when it was over. Maron is simply amazing.
Now to get back to Bob and David. Their sketch comedy, unfortunately, is what brought down my enjoyment of the closing gala. I was really looking forward to their unique and surreal style of comedy, but it seemed as though 10 years apart wore down their chemistry. Along with their friend and comedian John Ennis, Bob and David performed four or five sketches throughout the night, each of which made the show seem like it was dragging. I laughed at some stuff, like David’s portrayal of Benjamin Franklin if he were alive today, but for the most part, the sketch portion was dull.
The night as a whole had some shining moments, but I wish there was a stronger and funnier presence by Bob and David. I do want to give credit to Will Davis though, the director of ComedyFest. He worked very hard, like he does every year, to bring this event to life and it was really cool to see him running out on stage before and after each sketch to move set pieces with the crew. He is a dedicated promoter. Kudos to him.
*Correction: Bob and David performed at The Cultch for ComedyFest 2009. Thanks to Ian Boothby for the tip!