Here are more of the superlatives and less-than-superlatives Julie Seabaugh witnessed at the comedy tent at last week’s Sasquatch! festival.
Monday, May 26
- Least Ready for Prime-Time Players: Great that Sasquatch! remembered the locals, but Seattle School’s RECESSION!—poorly lip-synched ditties about lipstick, the Nintendo Wii and Ben Bernanke – emphasized facial contortions and painfully hip pop-culture references over actual humor, ultimately walking about half the audience.
- Healthiest Sign of Life IV: More than doubling the amount from the two previous days, 64 chairs crowded the front of the stage… and remained filled with increasingly familiar faces through every set’s standing-room turnover.
- Rawest Revelations: Winding down his Standuppity Tour with Eugene Mirman, Marc Maron confessed to being exhausted, crazed (more so than usual) and still reeling from his wife’s recent decision to leave him. With the crowd already embracing his material on racism, politics, religion and technology, he shrugged, “Okay, I’ll try to work it through with you nice people.” Chunks on his anger issues, being alone and history of drugging and drinking gave way to his admitting, “There’s part of me that wants to be liked by everybody, but I beat the fuck out of that part. And that’s basically my personality.” Authenticity at its most admirable.
- Most Missed Catchphrases of Power-Point Presenter, Pseudo-Political Reporter, Amateur Crypto-Zoologist and All Around Cheshire Cat of Sarcasm Eugene Mirman: 3) “I am bike cheese!” 2) “…bowls of tears and little fear cakes. That are not very good.” 1) “Miiirman! Man From the Sea!” Seriously, it’s been far, far too long. Someone book the dude a special immediately.
- Worst Scheduling Conflict That Wasn’t So Bad Once You Really Think About It: Flight of the Conchords’ 6:05 p.m. appearance on the festival Main Stage in direct competition with Michael “Setting fake movie scenes to songs deemed by the counterculture as ‘totally lame’ means my playing them for a live audience makes me an ironic stand-up genius” Showalter’s 6 p.m. set.
- Best “Oh Wait, Guess Someone Came to Their Senses” Moment: The higher-ups’ afternoon-of decision to go ahead and move back both Showalter and closer Michael Ian Black back an hour (to 7 and 8 p.m. respectively). Kudos, folks in charge.
- Smallest Presence: The Conchords, unfortunately, as two slight New Zealanders performing acoustically on a huge stage in front of a sea of drunken music die-hards was a better idea on paper than execution. Grumbled on attendee: “Whoever this is on stage it wounds like they’re still warmin’ up. Just messin’ around and shit.”
- Most Accurate Self-Assessment: “Strangers don’t find me funny. I’m an acquired taste; I know that,” noted Michael Ian Black before bits on ejaculating pine cones and the dramatic reading of “A Series of Letters to the First Girl I Ever Fingered.”
- Best Reason to Reunite Stella (Again): Michaels Showalter and Ian Black, we love you, The State, Stella and Wet Hot American Summer. We really do. But you just can’t suddenly decide to tour and release albums (see 2007) with material that’s work-in-progress at very best. If we wanted semi-humorous lists of bands who sound like Radiohead, we’d read McSweeney’s. If we wanted drawn-out stories about human idiocy with no discernible punchlines, we’d…well, we’d talk to our grandfathers more. We thoroughly dig when you do what it is you do well, but this whole “stand-up comedy” path is just kind of a let-down. Take those pseudo-heckles of “Where’s David Wain?!” to heart.
Previously Part 1 of coverage of the Sasquatch! Comedy Tent