I had a very odd childhood growing up, at least in terms of interests. When I was a kid, most children my age were watching cartoons like G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, stuff like that. I watched game shows. Couldn’t get enough of them. You might laugh, but they had their benefits. I learned how to spell by watching Wheel of Fortune, I learned how to do math watching The Price Is Right, and I learned how to cheat a massively complex computer system by watching Press Your Luck.
What does that have to do with laughing? Very little, and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t interrupt my poorly-thought out opening paragraph.
The same thing happened as a teenager. Other kids were getting really into music, jamming out to bands at concerts, and forming garage bands that were destined to go nowhere. Not me. Around that age, I started really getting into stand-up comedy. I was in eighth grade when I saw my first live comedy special: George Carlin Back In Town.
I didn’t know what to expect, but by the time the show ended, tears had streamed down my face and my jaw was sore from laughing so hard. He was the funniest guy I’d ever seen or heard in my entire life. I needed MORE.
From that point to about my junior year of college, I doggedly pursued comedy albums. While others were waiting in line for the new (at that time) Metallica album, I was checking the music store to see if the new Denis Leary album had dropped yet.
I got into a wide and eclectic mix of comedians: Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby (before he ruined himself), Jeff Foxworthy, Chris Rock, Denis Leary, Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, Mitch Hedberg (RIP), Adam Sandler (which I regret to this day), and a bunch of others.
The problem with many of these performers is that they don’t perform often enough, or at least on albums enough, to sustain. Especially since 2008, on that sad day when George Carlin died, I’ve had to find new comedians to fill the void.
Over the last few years, I’ve added to the list of comics that make me laugh myself sick: Jon Pinnette (RIP), Larry Miller, Josh Blue, Lewis Black, Bill Hicks (also RIP), Steve Byrne, Gabriel Iglesias, and especially Craig Ferguson.
Last night, I got to see Craig Ferguson perform stand-up at a casino outside of Seattle, and he was in rare form. Outside of Carlin, nobody’s stand up act has made me laugh as hard and as consistently as Craig Ferguson has. His language is vulgar and his act can at times be lewd, both of which are selling points for me, frankly, but he is downright hysterical.
His opening act was also a great time, and I think someone to keep an eye on in the future, a comedian named Mark Forward. Honestly, if I were to ever perform as a stand-up comedian, Mark Forward would probably be the closest approximation to that.
So here are a couple of videos of the two comics I saw last night (not videos of last night’s performance, but still funny stuff):
Craig Ferguson (NSFW):
That’s all I’ve got, and frankly, it’s nearly 4 a.m. CDT as I write this, so I’m going the hell to bed.
The floor is yours. Usual commenting rules apply. If results last longer than four hours, please consult a physician.