cobb's comedy club
If you want to have a successful excursion in this town, you need a plan—and it better be a good one. Since it's not always easy to strike that perfect balance between "pre-game" drink, food and a show, we bring you the Date Night series — a block-by-block guide to weekend itineraries that only require one parking space. For this weekend's crawl, how about a night exploring the high and the low in North Beach.
A good way to tell if Norm MacDonald is killing a standup set is to just watch how much he’s giggling to himself. For whatever reason, when the cameras aren’t rolling, the comic icon lets his guard down and drops the trademark deadpan just a bit, but only when he knows he’s really hit on some new bizarre thought — the kind of thought that only he and his cultish, devoted following could find laughable.
Take note, people of unbridled ambition. This is the new career path to fame:
1) Make a series of web videos DIY-style.
2) Make them irresistibly funny.*
3) Post them on YouTube with little regard for future employment.
4) Wait a year or two.
5) Watch them inexplicably go viral.
Fans of The Daily Show know poignant, meaningful humor cannot be expressed in 140 characters or less. Comedy of a higher order necessitates well-articulated ideas, counterintuitive analogies and word play; in other words, it craves patience. Wyatt Cenac, a writer and correspondent on the show, is an unexpected posterboy of this old-school approach to jokery, speaking in paragraphs instead of soundbytes and subtly working his way to a point. A tweeter he is not, but Cenac is relentlessy in touch with modern culture, whether it's underground music or the political zeitgeist. You've gotta be when you're a part of The Daily Show's Best F*#@ing News Team.
Charlie Murphy has seen through the looking glass, and he’s still not entirely what side he’s on. The famed comedian was at Cobb’s last night — the second of a four-night stint at the North Beach comedy club — and outlined for a boisterous crowd his take on our surreal popular culture. Reality, turns out, is one hell of a drug.
Few could have hallucinated the life of Murphy, who has spent his entire professional career in the daunting shadow of his megastar brother Eddie. He’s managed to forge his own singular identity and cult following thanks to a coup of a gig on Chappelle’s Show and various semi-high-profile TV and film roles.
Myq Kaplan (pronounced “Mike”) gets laughs the way your quirky math teacher did, turning what some might consider boring laws of the natural world into innuendo and snarky word play. He’ll make jokes about rhombuses and the difference between sets and subsets while making a point about dating or sex or other racier subjects. All with the charm and delivery of a sinister school boy turned Meghan’s Law regular (Bay Area comedy fans might draw comparisons to fellow creep-comic Brent Weinbach). Trust that it works, and regularly kills.
History’s Renaissance men have never come packaged quite like Joe Rogan. The former reality show host/current UFC commentator/psychedelic drugs advocate/podcaster/martial artist is a compelling mix of brain and braun — part Harvard, part Vegas. He’s something of an enigma, bringing a streak of intellectualism to a sport and demographic that could probably use it — the now-mainstreamed culture of mixed martial arts. Rogan is as interested in politics, socioeconomics and modern science as he is in round-house kicks and choke-holds.
A day in the life of his Twitter feed (@joerogan) refers to topics as diverse as the taxoplasma parasite, the state of country music, illiteracy in urban areas and beyond, as if he’s on a mission to bring a well-rounded education to his MMA-loving followers (for an idea of his demographic, his podcast’s sponsor is a masturbatory assistance mechanism called the Fleshlight).
Wanda Sykes has had a busy year. After several awesome seasons as a serious contender for TV’s best sit-com sidekick (a tongue-lashing BFF to Julia Louis-Dreyfus on “The New Adventures of Old Christine”), Sykes came out against Prop 8, had twins in April and got tapped to razz Republicans and Democrats alike (mostly Republicans) at the White House Correspondents Dinner in May.
We know that President Obama’s iPod is chock full of classic rock from The Stones to Dylan, as well as jazz greats and lots of Stevie Wonder. We know that Bush’s iPod – nicknamed “iPod One”- featured The Knack’s “My Sharona.” We wonder what the Queen will put on her playlists but now we can (pretend to) know what’s on Barack’s Blackberry.