Man Cannot Live by Leg Drops Alone
Every once in awhile when I venture out of my apartment in, uh, “rustic” Kenmore, Ohio, I am actually doing something besides traveling to the day job, scoring a slice at my favorite pizza joint, or consuming mass quantities of pro wrestling / horror flicks at the requisite church social hall / discount movie theater.
For example, last Saturday my buddy Wayne scored some tickets to the Josh Gondelman/Curtis Cook comedy show in Cleveland and invited me to attend it with him.
Late is the New On Time
Photograph via Willamette Weekly
Before the show, we stopped for dinner at the modish Noodlecat located on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. I will have a full review of my meal in coming days. In the meantime, all I have to say is FIERY DAN DAN.
Thinking the show began at 7:30, we arrive at the theater just after 7:00. Yeah, no. It had already started. Talk about a rookie mistake.
I’ve seen many great performances at the club over the years. I’ll never forget the night that Andrew “Dice” Clay slew the joint.
And then there was the night that I ran into Pat Cooper eating at the restaurant. He signed an old LP I had brought and chatted my ear off for 20 minutes.
So when we finally collect our tickets at the box office, make our way into the auditorium, and are seated, Curtis Cook is a few minutes into his set. Dude is warmed up and dropping bombs.
Cook cuts an imposing figure. Standing around 6’7″, he commands the stage.
Being biracial and growing up economically challenged figures heavily into his act.
He sheepishly admits that he thought that the Olive Garden was a “nice restaurant” until he was 22-years old.
He also spoke in depth about his girlfriend,who is also biracial. He revealed that he teases her because while his father was black and his mother white, her parents are the opposite composition. He posits that is the (paraphrasing) “wrong way” to be biracial.
Later, Cook zeroed in on a table in the front row. He did a visible double take when a gentleman he was casually questioning nonchalantly described himself as “rich.” The off-the-cuff banter that followed was some of the funniest of the night. Cook showed how incredibly bold and nimble he is as a performer.
Upon researching him, I discovered that Mr. Cook is a contributor to the Willamette Weekly. He is a talented, interesting writer. He covers everything from Affirmative Action to the recent comedy special of Cleveland’s own Ramon Rivas.
Curtis Cook is intelligent and super funny. Keep an eye on him.
Yadda Yadda Yadda
Josh Gondelman takes the stage quietly.
Black frame glasses.
Grey cardigan sweater.
He carried a short glass with an amber colored liquid in it.
He has a shy, yet pleasant, awkwardness about him as he begins his set.
Going in, I was loosely aware of his background.
Writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
Co-creator of the insanely entertaining SeinfeldToday Twitter parody account.
This guy is the real deal.
He didn’t disappoint.
Born in Stoneham, MA. and now living in Brooklyn, NY, Gondelman is the very definition of a modern East Coast comedian.
His material is informed and often political.
He spoke at length about his girlfriend and how the song “Caress Me Down” by Sublime has come to haunt their relationship.
He is an engaging storytelling. He performed a bit about encountering a drunk homeless man on the New York Subways that is so charmingly quirky it could only have been born below the streets of NYC.
He is touring in support of his first album, Physical Whisper. Being not only of a certain age but a bit of a media snob, I was ecstatic that he was offering the album via the ultra-hip cassette tape format. (And no worries, each cassette contained a code for a digital download.)
Josh Gondelman and Curtis Cook are talented comedians. Both men performed funny and entertaining sets. Their coastal sensibilities played well in a Midwest state, which isn’t always a given.
If you have the opportunity to catch performances by both, or either, don’t hesitate.
Apologies to host Josh Womack for missing his set. I hear he is a very sharp, very funny comedian. I will remedy this error the next time he performs in the area. In the meantime, check him out on Twitter.
-Zep the Bear