Not all heroes wear capes. Some, as I found out during Saturday’s second taping of All Access Live Hosted by Wyatt Cenac, jump on stage to entertain the crowd during technical problems.
Having already been to an All Access Live taping, the one hosted by Moshe Kasher, I expected a funny, intimate show and a well-oiled and well-timed production. It was both, right up to the end of American comic Theo Von’s set when the generator that was powering all the TV equipment blew.
After a bit of confusion, warm up comic Aaron Burr returned to the stage to explain what was happening.
Now since we’re talking about messups, I’ll admit one of my own. In my initial review of the Kasher All Access I called the warm-up guy Bill Burr. I thought it must be Bill. Bill Burr was a comic and Aaron Burr was the guy who shot Alexander Hamilton (note to self: listen to Mirna, she’s usually right).
Turns out not only is Aaron Burr a comic, he’s a damn good one capable of some seriously good improv to keep the audience going when the planned show was temporarily delayed.
Jessica Kirson, whom I imagine was the planned surprise guest for the end, also performed her set during this mid-show interruption. We’ve already reviewed her as part of The Ethnic Show, so I won’t go into her set here only to say that her comedic talent combined with the awkward energy in the room led to a truly stellar set that the audience needed at the time.
Huge props are also due to Von. He had been rocking the crowd with a solid set and then was pulled off the stage before he was able to finish it. When the TV tech was back up and running, he had to start from the beginning, something that I can’t imagine being easy to do when so much of a comedian’s success relies on flow and timing.
While the audience was fully expecting him to repeat most jokes and was even told that he would by Burr, Von opted for entirely different material at the start. He only ended up repeating the setup to the joke he was interrupted on, which involved audience interaction on top of it.
Now while I’m sure professional comedians like Von have a ton of material in reserve, the decision to throw out what he had planned for his TV appearance in order to offer the in-house crowd something new impressed me. It helped that he also happened to be one of the funniest and most animated comics up there that night.
Amidst all the chaos, host Cenac kept his cool and delivered his comedy in the chill, matter-of-fact way he is famous for. His material ranged from personal observations to the current state of US politics.
Audience interactions also played a big part in his performance, something Cenac felt completely at home doing. For one intro he sat casually at a table, just hanging out with some of the crowd.
I interacted with one of the comics, Darrin Rose, when he asked who was an older brother. Turns out he wasn’t that fond of older brothers, or at least his – for comedic effect of course.
Robby Hoffman, with her mousey though confident delivery was great. Kurt Braunholer was another standout.
The other comics, Rhea Butcher, Charlie Demers, Esther Povitsky and Damien Power, all delivered solid sets and I remember laughing quite a bit. I’d have to watch the TV version of this show to properly do them justice in a review, though.
All the excitemen during the unexpected break made Von’s triumphant return to the stage the comedic high point of the night. That and probably the extra bar run we got because of it split my focus between what was currently on stage and thoughts of “how cool was that” about what had transpired.
That dichotomy lasted until the end, with a brief interruption when I fully focused on Cenac’s second mini-set.
It wasn’t the show I was expecting but it ended up being one of the most entertaining shows I saw.