Meet Matthew Cooke, a Stranger reader who has vowed to do everything The Stranger suggests for the entire month of February. Look for his reports daily on Slog and Line Out. —Eds.
I only caught part of last night’s benefit at the Moore. Susan and I had a window of 7:30 — 9pm, because 1) I was completely wiped out after the previous night's awesome—but horribly late—Daedalus show and 2) Susan had an early flight to the east coast and had to leave for the airport at 4:15am this morning.
Still, an hour-and-a-half seemed like plenty of time to take in some comedy, catch some music, and provide enough material for a “Yesterday” assessment.
Last night’s affair had a casual vibe, however, and nobody seemed interested in sticking to my timetable. It was supposed to start at 7:30, but didn’t actually start until after 8pm. I only got to see maybe half of the comedians, and almost none of the music.
The casualness extended to the stage set up. Everything was extremely basic; minimal lighting, and there was absolutely nothing on the stage but a mic stand. No backgrounds, no props, no nothing. Host Todd Barry actually introduced himself from off-stage.
I was expecting Barry to give some background on the event, exactly what the cause was, etc, but no. He just went right into his joke-cracking MC shtick. I would have appreciated some context, but maybe he thought saying the word “cancer” would kill the funny.
Anyway, the comedians I saw mostly hit the mark. I generally prefer meta-comedy over straight jokes. Hence, the Neil Hamburgers of the world generally crack my ass up, and his performance last night was typically (and hysterically) cringe-worthy.
The best act, however (that I saw, at least), was definitely Tim Heidecker’s. I barely follow the comedy scene, so I’d never heard of him, but his “clueless comedian” routine had me weeping openly 30 seconds in. He got a well-deserved standing O from the small but enthusiastic crowd.
In the end, I wasn’t blown out of the water by this recommendation. I know it’s for a good cause and all, but floor tickets were $50 (balcony for $30). A little more professionalism about start times and stagecraft seems like a reasonable thing to expect, no?
Still, I guess The Stranger did its job since the event brought added value you wouldn’t get just sending money to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. More bells and whistles, however—or at least promptness—would have been appreciated.