The Comedy Festival is a great fest for seeing some big headliners. And they definitely try and bring in some rising talent, quick a bit of it alternative. But Caesars Palace isn’t that great a venue for the later. The shows take place in ballrooms, which sort of works against a lot of the more diverse shows. It’s not the environment for something that’s come out from the edges.
So, when I ended up dropping by a guerrilla late night show from Garage Comedy at The Double Down, it felt like a little bit of what the fest needed – even though the event dealt with one of the most relentless hecklers I’d ever seen.
Comic after comic had to deal with this guy, some resigned to plowing through but a couple of comics managed to break his will. The first was Ron Lynch, who was willing to the crowd to fuck off over and over again, not letting his voice be beat out by the din.
The heckler later had to deal with another female comic, whose name I didn’t catch unfortunately, who chastised the man for not being where he was supposed to me. She insisted that instead of heckling, he was supposed to be fucking her in the alleyway. She didn’t look like she was joking when she said this and it shut the heckler up for the bit as he tried to understand exactly what was happening.
Brody Stevens then managed to drive the heckler out, chastising the filming Garage Comedy crew, yelling, quite brilliantly: “don’t glorify him with a jpeg.”
Rick Shapiro ended the night in a room that even sans heckler, was still loud. It kind of fit the brilliant mind of Shapiro in a way – it was if the Sermon of the Mount was delivered at the upper deck of a Jets game.
It was as close to a hell gig as I can think of, but I enjoyed the realness of it, away from a strip ballroom. Comedy isn’t always clean. Its heart is on the fringe, the dark part where the new bubbles up. It’s a little dangerous and awkward for what it is, not for where it is. Reflecting this better would be an interesting step for the Vegas fest, which put some of that fresh talent inside stale rooms.