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Stand Up Wit…Matt Weinhold

 

"Who gets a fourteen hour show these days that ends in nudity?"

"Who gets a fourteen hour show these days...that ends in nudity?"

The longest track on DEAD FUNNY is the opener, and for a couple of minutes I was wondering if Matt Weinhold was going to get the crowd at Cobb’s off the ground. Seemed like the drug jokes weren’t working as planned, but then he adeptly turned the tepid reaction into his favor by steering into bits on listening to Rush on acid and joining the Kiss Army, and from that point forward, he was rolling. (The Geddy Lee impression was priceless.) By the time he got around to the…uhh…special bicycle seat, all bets were off.

There are thirty-six tracks on the album, although several are just logical segues that could have been lumped together (e.g. “Bald Race”/”Last Haircut”). Weinhold is not a monologist; he’s in and out of topics quickly – a quick one or two jabs to set up the punch line, then a couple of great reaction lines to drive it home (often using sound effects and a myriad of voices to add color). I haven’t seen him in person, but based on the voices and timing I would bet he’s physically expressive as well. Not Brian Regan expressive, but very visual.

Yet despite the seeming smorgasbord of topics, there’s a great flow to the set, and like the San Francisco crowd at Cobb’s I was laughing throughout.  And Weinhold has balls – he’s unafraid of offending anyone. If several gay, Nazi, serial killer and pedophile jokes were over the line, he absolutely hurdledit with “Pudding”, yet he was able to pull even the dumbfounded audience members back in and get out alive. But compared to those pokes at the disabled, he’s soon far rougher on himself as a geeky, lazy, balding sci-fi freak who resorts to pleasuring himself in the kitchen rather than summon the initiative to do the dishes. Matt might have wanted the audience to leave the show with the word “assfigure” as their new vocabulary entry, but it’s the one he coined in “Masturbation” that will haunt me for a while.

Besides the above, my other favorite pieces were “Pepe Le Pew”/”Yosemite Sam” (with excellent imitations), “Amateur Porn”, “Action Figures” (take that, conventioneers!) and the closing bits on sad, tired and bizarre relationships. (I think I dated that girl in “Living Together”, although Matt’s nightmare woman sounds more like Kevin Meaney on a Red Bull jag…)

DEAD FUNNYis a solid effort, as Weinhold hits the target often. Plus anyone who’s into BUBBA HO-TEP is alright with me.

Tons of information at Matt’s website.

You can also buy DEAD FUNNY at CD Baby.

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Stand Up Wit… Jon Fisch

Which one of these is a Snickers?

Which one of these is a Snickers?

Self-depricating right from the outset, Jon Fisch’s Notice Anything Different is consistently funny from start to finish, even on replays. Fisch eases the crowd in with some topical humor peppered with a few vulgar terms to set up the more ribald material later on, but there’s nothing truly offensive here. (By the time he got to the jokes about sexual positions and bikini wax, the crowd was right there with him). Fisch’s material isn’t structured to build to one good line, his vignettes are loaded like buckshot, so a good crowd (and this show in Ottawa had one) is worked like a speed bag.

If jokes about back hair, menstrual cycles, bikini wax and masturbation are too much for you you’re probably not the target audience for this column, let alone the comedians I write about. But Jon’s funniest material really comes from pointing out his own shortcomings and the absurdities of life, and even when riffing on common topics like awkward relationships, small apartments, health clubs, bad phone manners and annoying kids he’s fresh and funny. My favorite bit is the routine about online dating and what the words in the ads really mean – it’s something I could see him milking more as time goes on.

As a performer, Fisch maximizes his material with skilled use of his voice, whether it’s inflection to stress a phrase or using voices to act out a scenario. He also possesses excellent timing – very adept at a pregnant pause – and is able to seemingly toss a line out as an aside that’s obviously a key part of the joke. Great balanced delivery.

The only drawback to the CD is the gaps of silence between tracks, which breaks the mood every few minutes (it’s a professionally recorded CD, not a error made while burning a CD-R), but that’s a small nit and easily rectified. Really funny album, and anyone this strong on record is on my must-see list.

Tour dates, video clips and other information available on his website.

Notice Anything Different also available via CD Baby.

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