I was a bit confused about the scheduling. It was advertised that there would be a live Proopcast on Thursday plus stand-up over the weekend. So I had thought that I had to choose between seeing the podcast or seeing stand-up on one of the other days. I had decided on the podcast day but it turned out that he was also doing stand-up on Thursday but also podcasting later that night. So in case you get the chance to see Greg in your town and this confusion comes up, there you go.
The openers were [A guy whose name I can't seem to find yet, sorry guy], Ramon Rivas and Karen Rontowski. First guy was amusing enough except that he sure did comment that Ugg boots should make an "ly" at the end of them. Perhaps some day someone will break it to him that that doesn't count as a joke since everyone who has ever heard of Ugg boots has made that same observation.
Ramon Rivas followed the rule that if you are of any non-European ethnicity, you must make jokes themed on your ethnicity at some point in any of your acts. Well, he didn't do it a lot, but how refreshing it would be to have it not mentioned at all. I thought it was interesting that he brought up a Twitter hash tag game he invented and proceeded to recount some of the Tweets he made based on that game. Is repeating one's Twitterfeed in one's stand-up act going to be a thing now? On the upside, Ramon's hash tag game was #joannfabricsongs, and no, the world does not enough jokes about Jo Ann Fabric stores.
Karen Rontowski was funny....I'm sorry, I have to say it...for a woman. I'm not saying she wouldn't be funny if she had happened to be a dude, just that...American female comics tend to be of a, um, a certain brand of humor that erm isn't so great to me. Now British female comics are often hilarious. I don't know how to explain it, but...that's just how I find it. My mentionworthy thing about Karen was that - and I'm sorry that it's another gender comparison thing - she made Steven Wrightesque (or Mitch Hedbergesque if you prefer) one-off jokes, which is something that I don't see much of with the funny ladies. Or even the unfunny ones.
Unrelated to the comedy, Amanda and I held off on having dessert at home specifically because, upon looking at the online menu for Pickwick & Frolick's, we saw things such as "gelato of the day," "Pickwick's Signature S'more," and - are you ready? - "Vanilla Bean ice Cream, Chocolate Covered Hazelnuts, Crumbled Brownie, Carmel & Chocolate Sauce, Topped with Baileys Irish Whipped Cream." It turned out that the dessert menu items for the Hilarities table service were only "New York Style cheesecake" and "Vanilla bean ice cream." Would the vanilla bean ice cream turn out to be the same one with hazelnuts and brownie and Bailey's cream? I did not risk being disappointed. The cheesecake was good, but...*sigh* I had gotten my hopes up with the other possibility. Yes, yes, FWP, I know.
I'm happy to report that Greg's act was mostly different from the last time we saw him. I think Greg's at his best when he's working off script (yes, he's somehow funnier when he doesn't more time to think about what he wants to say). Perhaps it's because impromptu comedy tends to be funnier by merit of its very nature. Greg began the show wandering from one side to the other, and went off when he was surprised to see the limit of the microphone cord he was given. "I got more cord from my mother at birth!" He also got the chance to rag on a particular drunk couple of ladies who were sitting at...well at the table we were four years ago. I do wonder, though. When a headlining comedian gets sidetracked, does that make his entire act longer, or does he have a set time limit meaning some bits are passed over in favor of the sidetracky moments?
Overall I thought he was in top form. However, one miiiinor suggestion. Okkay, Greg: you know the bit where you raise your voice intentionally obnoxiously as if you're the audience responding to something you just said ("BUT GREG!...")? Maybe you could rely on that device a tad less, is all. I'm not really a fan of stand-up catch phrases.
At his surprise at how early the checks came to the tables, Greg offered the crowd advice on tipping. "Take the final amount of the bill, half it, then half it again. [silence from everyone else.] "'B-b-but that's 25%!' Yeah. You're in the city now." You rock, Greg.
After an approximately intermission-length wait we were treated to the Smartest Man in the World Proopcast portion of the night. I noticed that probably more than half of the stand-up audience did not stick around for this part. Now that's how you separate the "real fans," for lack of a less pretentious phrase. It did turn out that there was an extra five buck charge for the podcast hour, but come on. Is that why all of those other people didn't stick around? More likely they weren't terribly familiar with Proops in the first place to care, I posit?
There were maybe... by my memory count of the room...thirty people there, perhaps? Forty if I'm generous. But I liked that about it. Again, I know it makes me sound like "that guy," but there's something more pleasing about being part of an audience of like fans.
Before the show Greg went around to each table and handed out a CD, his Houston, We Have a Problem, to each! That was well worth the ten bucks alone. He came to me and asked, "Would you like one?" and then shook my hand. It was almost surprising how he goes from his stand-up character - a pompous jerk who demands that you laugh at everything he says - to, you know, just this guy. And it always happens when Amanda and I meet someone famous to us: my reaction being an awkward kind of stunned not-knowing-how-to-properly-react and Amanda chatting it up with said famous person(s) as if it's just anybody else. Amanda asked Greg how he felt about the little placard on the table advertising his show - which spelled his name as "Gregg." Whereas onstage Greg could've angrily ranted about this, real life Greg took it fairly in stride. To the effect of "Oh, you know. It happens. And sometimes they spell "Whose Line" with "W-H-O-apostrophe-S." And funnily enough, that same placard did indeed credit Gregg as having appeared on "Who's Line is it Anyway?" And I'm not even sure whether he knew it...
Anyone who's listened to the Proopcast knows that it's a bit over an hour long and more relaxed and more free-form (though also structured, if that makes any sense). If you haven't heard it...well, here's an iTunes link and here's a non-iTunes link. I need not talk about the one I attended because it's available for you to download and listen to! It's the one posted on October 7th titled "Walls." At the one hour and four minute mark is the part where...well...I'll leave it up to you to hear it for yourself. Please feel free to leave a comment giving your answer to the question posed at that point!
Greg seemed to be mingling with a few of the other audience members after the show but because of the extra SMITWCast time it was too late for us to wait around to try to get a chance to ask for an autograph or whatever. It seemed too dark for a good Nintendo DSi picture too. But it didn't matter that I didn't get a picture because I was easily happy enough with the bonus CD and handshake. And the 1:04:00 thing.