Saturday, September 06, 2008

You Gotta Give Mad Proops

Last night, I went to see Greg Proops perform stand-up at the Comedy Works in Denver. For those keeping score, I've now seen three different cast members from Whose Line Is It Anyway perform live. And just as with that last time, this was a great night.

Greg Proops' time on stage seemed to be divided about half and half between prepared material he had and improvised stuff he was making up on the spot (like riffing on the comedy club's menu for ten minutes). I didn't find it surprising at all that someone with his background would "freestyle" so much on stage, but it did strike me that unlike many stand-up acts, it seemed like you can easily go to this one on consecutive nights and not really see the same show twice.

He seemed to be a bit drunk as he performed, but it certainly seemed to help him have as good a time as the audience, and definitely added to the show. Nor did it stop him from whipping out words like "lugubrious," or obscure references such as one to the play Amadeus (which only I and about four other people in the club got).

We went to the later show, which turned out to be a good thing, because he clearly ran longer than the expected time, and everyone just let him go. Partly, this was due to some drunken ass in the crowd who started screaming weird crap at one point. We got to see Greg Proops rip this guy a new one. He engaged the heckler quickly but firmly at first, but when the guy still wouldn't shut up, he launched into a twenty minute nuclear attack that left no trace behind -- and was raucously funny throughout.

The intended, prepared material he brought was just as engaging. At times highbrow (including a wide variety of great political humor), and at times not remotely so (long riffs on Lindsay Lohan and one legged girls), there were more great moments than I can remember. Literally. See, this was also one of the most "densely packed" performances I've ever seen. I feel as though even while I remember dozens of great bits from last night, I've already forgotten more funny moments than the average stand-up even delivers in a set.

And the icing on the cake -- though technically I guess I ate the icing off this metaphorical cake first -- was that the opening performers were also really enjoyable. Aside from the emcee (who had around ten minutes of his own material), there were two other stand-ups who filled another half hour or so between them. And we were all already laughing hard before Greg Proops ever took to the stage.

One of Proops' funnier bits was about how dumb blogs are, and how people should stop blogging. But then, if I did, I wouldn't be able to tell all of you how funny he was, nor encourage you all to see him perform if you ever have the chance.

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