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Sunday, March 28, 2010

March 28: Jy Harris

It's been a few weeks. What can I say? Sometimes I just get lazy... Sometimes? Okay, I'm pretty much always lazy, but sometimes I'm lazier than others. Plus I was sick. That's a legit excuse, isn't it? Sure, it was just a cold, but I'm a guy. Those things can lay me out for weeks.

Oh, and I went to Portland for a few days a couple weeks ago. While there, I took the chance to take in some professional men's comedy at Harvey's. I was told it's the most popular comedy club in the city. Judging from the packed lounge prior to the show, I don't doubt it. And they do three shows on a Saturday night, 5:00, 7:30 and 10:00! We were greeted outside by three huge headshots on the side of the building. I have no idea who two were, but the middle was Portland boy, and friend of What's So Funny? (and former guest), Dwight Slade. Unfortunately Dwight was performing in Minneapolis the night we were there.

With a two-item minimum, I decided to have a beer and a burger. You can't go wrong with a burger, right? But there will be no confusing Harvey's the comedy club with Harvey's the hamburger joint. Trust me, at Harvey's comedy club, they definitely do not make your hamburger a beautiful thing. Worst burger I've ever had.

Soon after I started going to comedy clubs regularly in the early 1980s, I realized it was a crapshoot. That is, you never know if the performers are going to be either up to snuff or to your tastes. I've always figured if I come away having liked just one of the performers on a given night, it was a win. So let's see how it played out:

One of my pet peeves is when friends see a comedian somewhere, rush back to tell me, then can't remember the comic's name. And now I'm going to do the same thing. The host's name was Doug. It's possible his last name was Edwards. Doesn't really matter. He was extremely rehearsed and there was no original thought to his pieces. He grew up with five sisters, so of course we got lots of menstruation jokes. And on this night it was the 1oth anniversary of his divorce. Maybe. Shades of Andrew Grose's wedding anniversary every time you see him. So we started off the night oh-for-one. No biggie. On to the middle act.

J.P. Linde was introduced as a Portland legend. Okay. But it's obvious to see why he never became a legend anywhere else. Longevity in any given place is laudable, but there should be other factors that get you legend status. He mentioned the airline crew that was caught drunk "three weeks ago". Forget the fact that story broke much longer than that, is having the pilot singing a rendition of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall over the P.A. really worth keeping that joke in your repertoire? Good Lord. He also broke the comedy lid off the notion that the seat cushion can be used as a floatation device. Finally! I've been waiting years to hear a comic expose that silly idea. Linde looks a bit like Andy Kindler, but he's the anti-Kindler. I don't want to be too mean, though. The guy retired that weekend from stand-up.

Okay, oh-for-two with one last chance to save the night. And headliner Steve White did just that. What a breath of fresh air. The guy apparently has been in five Spike Lee movies. I didn't recognize him, but I'm sure going to watch for him. Great energy and an infectious spirit. And naturally funny. That always helps. He entered by acting as if we were all surprised that he was black based on his name. "Negro!" he said, pointing to his face. "No refunds!" He remarked on the whiteness of Portland: "It's like they build [white people] here. I've never seen so many fucking Subarus in my life."

Other good lines I jotted down:
  • "I have ADHD: Attention Deficit in Hi-Definition. I'm very clear about what I'm fucked up about."
  • On thugs needing to maintain that macho facade 24/7 even if their mom dies: "I'm gonna miss that 'ho. She was my bitch."
  • "Obama made history twice: First black president... and last black president."
Even when making a groaner, he celebrates it with fake bravado. "Kobe beef? What's that? Black beef that comes in a white bun?" Then he mimes hitting one over the fence. "That's comedy gold!"

So was the evening a success? Damn straight, it was. One-for-three, but the one more than made up for the others. I tried to embed a clip of White for you but for some reason it isn't working. But he's got a few short ones on Rooftop Comedy you can check out on your own.


Now, on with the show. We've been on the air for over five years and surprisingly we've never had stand-up comic Jy Harris on before. But that's all about to change. He'll join us for his debut tonight at 11. You know him perhaps as Crop Sitter in episode one of DaVinci City Hall, or Clerk in episode one of Life As We Know It. Or maybe you've seen him on the Jerry Springer Show. The Red Rocket is all over the map. I see he's also a lead in the future cult classic Bong of the Dead (see trailer below). Jy is one positive dude and it should be fun talking with him.

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