Stand-up Comedy

Last night my wife and I went to see one of our favorite comedians, Bill Burr. We both listen to Bill’s weekly podcast, and I’d been monitoring his website so as not to miss a show. He was at the Improv, in Arlington, Texas, this week.

Really fun show. The venue was cool. That makes three stand-up comedy shows for me. Not a lot. Years ago we saw George Lopez in Austin, before he “got big”. Then a few years ago we saw George Carlin in Fort Worth, just months before he died. It was so great.

As I’ve written about lately, I’ve been reading a lot of books by comedians. I guess I have only a certain capacity to take in heavy material. I can’t just read heavy-ass social/political stuff nonstop. I want to be informed about the world, but I also don’t want to be an angry, constantly-outraged, nervous wreck waiting for the economy to collapse, the water supply to fail, and the shit to hit the fan. It’s a balancing act, for sure.

Back to last night’s show.

As we pulled into the side-of-the-highway “outdoor mall” location of the Improv, which is designed to create the failed illusion of a small town square, we both commented on the nature of that failed attempt at authenticity. “People love this shit”, said my wife. The fake town square was filled with lots of national chain stores. Just like everywhere else.

When Bill Burr took the stage, the first thing he mentioned was that nothing in the mall is “real”. It “not Mom and Pop”. Hahahahahaha.

This was the first of two shows Bill would do last night. He did two shows the night before, and will do two more tonight. So three days, 2 shows in a row per night. It is on thing to get up and deliver the material and make people laugh, but to do it in such a way that the whole thing seems like a spontaneous performance is amazing. I realize he has years of experience, and it’s his job, but it’s really quite incredible how the best comedians can do this. I think it goes beyond the skill of bands/artists doing musical performance night after night. When you go see a band, you know they have done that song hundreds of time before, and it doesn’t matter. But to tell the same stories and jokes night after night and make it seem fresh during every show, that is serious skill.

Anyway, it was cool to go to the show and laugh hard enough to make my face hurt.

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