As some of you are aware, in the past, I’ve written for comedians (some you’ve even heard of!) and I also reviewed comedy for a publication. Although I still write jokes for people from time to time I haven’t reviewed much comedy lately.
But that’s going to change today.
I had the good fortune to receive a couple of DVDs from a comedian you should know. His name is Rob Little and he does what so many comedians can’t: he makes you like him. No joke, from the moment he takes the stage he makes it feel as if you’re not only in on the joke but you were probably there when it happened. I’ll tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that’s harder than it looks.
His very energetic performance is punctuated by a Chris Farley physicality and a giggling countenance you’d expect to hear from your goofy friend. You know the guy (hey, I didn’t make the rules, but 99.9% of the time it is a guy) I’m talking about. Sure, you’re often covering your face and running in the opposite direction but it wouldn’t be a party without him.
His writing is dead on in it’s conversationally. He’s self-deprecating without ever making you feel as if he’s looking for sympathy or spiraling into woe fest. As a matter of fact, if you did have a pang for him he’d mold you into the next piece of fodder. And, due to the immediacy of his act, you’d expect it. He has that rare ability to pull you in and make you feel as important to the proceedings as he is. He’ll stumble so you can pick him up. He’ll say something that only someone who has bonded with his audience can get away with. He’ll teach you how to get away with calling a woman a bitch.
That’s talent, my friends. So often a comedian will try to show you how much smarter he is than you. Rob couldn’t be further from that (it’s an art to be able to write like that). He draws you in which makes you push for his success. There’s an old comedy axiom that you should make the audience pay. I witnessed that a month or so ago when a well-known comedian, who’s on a current hit show, phoned it in.
During his set, which was punctuated by twenty-year-old jokes (I know, it’s new to most people, but damn! Twenty years? I hope he doesn’t have the same rules when it comes to underwear), he displayed a full on disdain for the audience. I was fine with that. People were having fun. But I had an uncontrollable urge to leave when he pulled out three jokes. Not ‘hey! Look at my crafty joke!’ jokes. Jokes from jokes books. He even closed with one.
Now I don’t know what Rob’s rate is, but I do know this other comedians, and I’m sure seeing Rob live would never leave you with a feeling of being fleeced. If you wanted someone who will go to severe lengths (yeah, sure, he’s sophomoric but who does like a handful of dick and tit jokes?) to entertain you I’d suggest you hop in the Little SUV and let him drive you around funnyville.
His two DVDs, ‘Born: 20 Inches Long’ and ‘Haulin’ Ass’, show an evolution (I can’t find it in myself to call it maturity) in his performance. They were recorded five years apart and, although there is some overlap in material, it helps you to see the subtly changes in timing and inflection. I’m not saying he’s more confident in the latter (I doubt lack of confidence has ever been an onstage problem) but it is interesting to watch the growth of the Little machine.