It's 12:08am and I just got home from the 9/11 Memorial Comedy Show or the "NYC Still Rising" show and I usually am not the kind of person to post reviews or blog about this kind of thing but currently all of my thoughts about this are running through my head and I need to write them down!
For starters, it was definitely one of the most surreal events I have ever been to. I love comedy and I love going to comedy shows in New York, in fact it's one of the few things about New York that I actually really love. It's a great city for comedy and it's probably the greatest place in the world to watch stand up comedy.
I've loved stand up comedy my whole life and i've seen a lot of great shows and great comics in NYC over the last year including Tim Dillon, Shane Gillis, Ali Macofsky, Stavros Halkias, Joe List, Dan Soder, and many more.
Me and a few of my friends (who work at Barstool, VIVA!) love going to shows at the Stand and the Comedy Cellar together so when we saw the "NYC Still Rising" lineup it was a no-brainer that we needed to buy tickets.
I'd say overall the two acts that I enjoyed the most were John Mulaney and Dave Chappelle.
John Mulaneys set was absolutely hysterical and it literally felt like I was watching some freak genius scientist at work. He's a legitimate comedic genius and you can tell just from watching him how smart he really is and how much time and effort he obviously puts into his work. Every moment was laugh out loud funny from the start to finish. Easily one of the better sets I have seen in person in my life.
Seeing Dave Chapelle in person was definitely not something I ever thought I would be able to do and it was extremely surreal. When he took the stage it literally felt like Jesus Christ himself just floated down from the Heavens and landed on the stage. The way the crowd erupted literally gave me chills. I never get chills! It was exactly like you see in all of his specials, he was extremely laid back, smoked cigarettes the entire time he was on stage, and was completely hammered. Maybe one of the craziest parts of his entire set wast that Chris Rock was on stage with him the entire time and they were just riffing back and forth. It was amazing.
Two comics that I really thoroughly enjoyed were Colin Jost and Michael Che. I've always been a fan of SNL and loved the concept of it. I will admit, i'm not a massive weekend update guy, I love watching the old Norm McDonald clips but aside from that it's never been my cup of tea. However, Colin Jost and Michael Che really surprised me. They took it to a whole-nother level and had some pretty edgy jokes that were really fucking funny. These guys are actually two extremely funny stand up comedians.
Seeing them perform live honestly made me wonder if SNL holds a lot of cast members back. Obviously it's an insane opportunity for anyone to be on that show and paves the way for a lot of comedy superstars but it's definitely no secret that SNL doesn't really like to takes many risks in terms of comedy. They keep most of the sketches pretty politically correct and family friendly so it was pretty cool seeing Colin Jost and Michael Che break out of that box. It was really cool to see two SNL cast members live and i'd definitely pay to see either of them do stand up again.
Bill Burr and Tom Segura are two of my favorite comedians of all time. They both were the first comedians I ever got really into and binged all of their specials. Bill Burr going up on stage was pretty similar to Dave Chapelle, the crowd went completely nuts. Bill Burr definitely pissed some people off with his material, especially the two people sitting next to me (not my friends) who made it extremely clear they did not approve of his jokes. He really wasn't saying anything wild and it's honestly so funny seeing how much of a hold he has on the crowd. He can go from making a ton of people pissed to making them laugh in a matter of seconds. It's pure crowd control.
Tom Segura was amazing, his closing joke was one of the funniest jokes of the entire night. It's hard to hear a great joke like that and not go and tell it to a bunch other people about it…but my good pal Rone informed me that you aren't supposed to do that because it's giving away other peoples material! So, you'll just have to take my word for it that it was really fucking funny.
Pete Davidson and Jon Stewart hosted the show and they did a great job and it's pretty cool that all the proceeds are going to a great cause.
Jay Pharoah was really funny and was one of the opening acts. He did what had to have been some of the best impressions i've ever seen. He did what was literally a perfect Biden and Obama impression and it was fucking hilarious.
Dave Attell was really funny and he literally brought out a Recorder halfway through his set and just started casually playing it. Definitely one of the funnier moments of the show.
Seeing Wanda Sykes live was pretty funny, i'm a big Curb your Enthusiasm fan so seeing her live was awesome. She made another random appearance at the end of the show when Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock were on stage that was pretty funny.
Jimmy Fallons set was very quick as he explained he hasn't done stand up in 10 years and then played a funny song on the guitar and hopped off stage. Although it was quick it was definitely cool seeing him in person.
Amy Schuemer was actually quite funny, as a comedy fan it was hard for me to get over the whole "she steals all her jokes" thing but I moved on pretty quickly and enjoyed her set. I also came to the conclusion that she didn't steal any of the jokes she did.
There was a few other comedians who I might be missing but they weren't on the lineup and I completely forget there names but they crushed it too!
It was really a great experience overall and every single comedian on the lineup totally killed it.
My only complaint about the show was a few stray members of the audience, people who felt the need to boo and let people know they didn't approve of certain jokes. Fuck off! I can't wrap my head around buying tickets to a comedy show and then getting mad at the comedy happening at the show. Unless something completely insane happens (nothing completely insane happened) there's never a need to boo. Why are you there if you do not enjoy comedy? Lighten up! It's all jokes! If you dislike a certain joke that is fine, just keep it to yourself, no need to make a whole scene about it. We all paid a lot of money to be there, we want to watch the comedians, not you! Overall the show was received very well there was just two people next to me the entire show who would make some sort of comment every five minutes going "that's not okay" when they heard a joke they didn't like and it was hard to ignore. There was also a hammered white dude in front of me who called Dave Chappelle a "bigot" for making jokes about white people. I can't imagine how miserable of a person you have to be to be watching Dave Chappelle live and have anything negative to say at all.
This was a really great time and I can now check seeing a lot of my favorite comedians off my bucket list. If you love comedy and live in an area where you can go see live comedy, I highly suggest you do it. It doesn't have to be the greatest lineup of all time but its still really fun. I'm not the happiest person in the world by any means and I honestly do not like New York City at all but being able to go to comedy shows and see comedians I love and disconnect from the chaotic world for a an hour or so is something I really enjoy in life and something I don't take for granted. Comedy is great!