After catching sets by Al Madrigal and Lewis Black at last year’s OFF-JFL and Just for Laughs, I realized that when you only know a comic through their appearances on The Daily Show, you may be surprised by what you get when you see them perform their own standup show. That wasn’t the case with former correspondent Wyatt Cenac, who’s playing OFF-JFL this year.
I had grown accustomed to Cenac’s very New York brand of relaxed sarcarsm on TV and that’s exactly what we got in Café Cleopatre Monday night. Take away the suit and Jon Stewart as the straight man, Cenac is still Cenac.
I really enjoyed how he used personal stories (he’s quite the storyteller) to comment on social and political issues. He used his love of the NYC Subway to bring up an observation on misinterpretation of biblical quotes in relation to homosexuality, but the winding tale that brought us there, which included Peter Dinklage and rats, was a huge part of the fun.
My favourite part of the show was when he juxtaposed the stories of a teacher fired for a film she had made when she was younger and Kim Kardashian to illustrate the wealth gap in America. Brilliant and very funny observational humour.
Honestly, it felt like a Daily Show segment, not a correspondent bit, but one of the main news satire pieces Jon Stewart delivers. Then, thanks to Wikipedia, I discovered Cenac was also a writer on the show and it all made sense.
I wasn’t just watching a skilled comedian but also a top comedy writer. You have a chance to do the same over the next few days and I suggest you don’t miss this opportunity.
* Wyatt Cenac performs at Café Cleopatre as part of OFF-JFL until July 25th, tickets and info at hahaha.com