My night with Jay Black: Part 2
I finally joined the legions of Clackers who met the elusive Jay Black. Unsurprisingly, Jay Black is growing in the comedy world. So, was he as awesome in reality as in on-line posts? Surprisingly, eff-yes.
Last year, our own Katie Schenkel met our comedy writer extraordinaire Jay Black. As with Katie, Jay noticed one of his shows occurred in my area and invited me along for the ride. As it took place in my old stomping grounds, of course, I had to attend.
But, I was a little afraid. I’m not going to lie. In fact, I had several pre-show fears all lined up:
#1) What if I’m offended?
If you haven’t guessed by reading even ONE of my posts, I’m a card-carrying member of the feminist brigade. I still believe Wonder Woman should wear straps and Superman should rock heels. I totally expected to absolutely hate it, bristle in umbrage, flying tackle him and fist punch him to the ground halfway through his set.
Answer: I wasn’t offended in the slightest. He was fucking hilarious. Even with the joke that he claimed might offend women, he set it up so gradually that you couldn’t take offense. And, on that joke, he’s totally right. But, I’ll deny it in public. He apologized later for making such dirty jokes to me, which surprised me because a) that’s his job, b) I’ve read his posts and CC e-mails and c) that was the CLEANEST set I’ve seen. In fact, I’m offended I wasn’t offended. Seriously, Jay, step it up.
#2) What if he isn’t funny?
I know. I know. His posts are hilarious. Sure, he’s done a pretty good job on the comedy circuit (OK, an awesome job), but some humor doesn’t translate to the stage. I remember seeing a pre-30 Rock, post-Uptown Comedy Club Tracy Morgan live. It was horrendous. It surrounded two hours of watching a drunk man play with his penis (metaphorically and otherwise) and fondle his naked torso. Seriously, I STILL want my money back. I finally realized Tracy Jordan’s a comedian I should enjoy on TV, not in reality. But, I still feared … what if Jay’s someone I should read, not watch?
Answer: He wasn’t just funny, he was fucking hilarious. Seriously, even when he stepped outside his typical routine, you couldn’t tell, because everything looked polished, confident and flowed seamlessly. His transitions: awesome. His connection with the audience: amazing. He used levels on stage: the floor, kneeling, squatting, standing and sitting. I did five years of improvisational interaction at local ren faires. It’s hard. But, everything he did looked easy, natural and heartfelt. He didn’t pretend not to notice details in the audience and was honest. Mentally, I smirked about the 10-year-old-looking faux brick wall with the 70s fluorescent stripes (what is it with brick walls and racing stripes at comedy clubs?), which he called out during his routine. Plus, all of his jokes connected back to each other. It was a masterpiece.
#3) What if the other comedians aren’t funny? Jay’s show took place not in the suburbs of Philly, but the suburbs of the suburbs. While I love and have a history with the town he performed in, let’s just say Podunk doesn’t cover it. Bumblefuck does. I kept thinking, can D-Town really attract decent talent? I saw an abysmal amateur hour in the heart of Philadelphia last year. Each act proved increasingly worse (including the headliner) until I came down with a major case of stone-face-itis. I deliberately facially killed many an act that night. I feared sitting in the D-Town audience for two hours and sharing my stone-face epidemic with the audience.
Answer: The other two comedians weren’t just funny, they were fucking hilarious. Clearly, I need to drive to the wilds of outer Philadelphia to find good comedy. In fact, my favorite joke included a cancer one which no one in the audience liked. It was FUNNY, people!!!
Side note: The club’s waitress was amazing. She thought I over tipped her (and tried to give a dollar back). She also offered to get me coffee from downstairs when I asked if they sold any. They didn’t. (Side side note: what is up with comedy clubs and no coffee?, don’t they want us AWAKE and watching their performers?! DON’T THEY?! Actually, never mind on that.)