I’ve heard a few comedians talk about how they love the amount of control they have in stand-up - it’s all theirs. And bumping up against that often are the venues and stages. There’s some who delight in the challenge of wrangling a crowd, winning them over. But having a place that’s your home - where you could work to your fullest, the trust that your play might lead someplace - those venues are special.
So I was excited to notice a mention of an upcoming documentary about the Los Angeles night club Largo in a recent issue of the New Yorker. (Abstract here) Largo has been a home for a lot of comedians over the years. It’s where Zach started playing piano with his jokes. And where the D first reigned supreme. So often in comedy we see the end and not the movement. Capturing a bit of that discovery on stage gives a rare glimpse into what’s too often described as akin to seeing how sausage is made.
Largo recently moved to a new space, so the film seems a little more essential. And as a New Yorker (the resident), I never went and never will go to the original space. We’re not necessarily wanting for interesting places to see alternative comedy here, but Largo, from all I know of it, sounds like it stands above. With rules like no talking, no cell phones - they’re following George Carlin’s maxim: “I’m here for me, you’re here for me and no one’s here for you.”
Here’s a few clips the producers have put up on the web. First, Sarah Silverman...
Then Zach Galifianakis.
(A third clip can be found on the documentary’s web site of Louis CK.)
I’d put up the trailer, but though you see a lot of the comics who play there, you don’t really much of them. It’s much more music focused. It surprised me a little, as the slant of the New Yorker article in part emphasized the cross-pollination between comics and musicians. Why not inter-cut it a bit more? Of course, that might not be the tone of the film. Hopefully, we’ll see as the doc starts playing film festivals later this year.