All Shook Down: Review: Comedy Death-Ray

From SF Weekly

January 17, 2010
By Irene McGee


Comedy Death-Ray with Michael Ian Black, Dana Gould, Doug Benson, Natasha Leggero, Scott Aukerman and musical guest Aimee Mann Friday January 16, 2010

Cobb’s Comedy Club

Better Than: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Even without the adorable Michael Cera on the line-up (he had to cancel last minute), Sketchfest’s sold out Comedy Death-Ray was a great variety show. Hosted by Scott Aukerman, it was a night with one common thread: great talent.

The stoner comic Doug Benson, from Super High Me, opened the show by admitting, “Sorry I didn’t come over — your text was so sexy I just rubbed one out.” The pot smoking, TV watching, every man routine was as lovable as it was funny. Benson did an amazing bit about getting stoned prior to boarding airplanes and being outraged when the “peanut lady” (flight attendant) brought pretzels instead of peanuts.

Following Benson was Natasha Leggero, who is a regular on E’s Chelsea Lately. Leggero confidently walked onto the stage with her long satin gloves and Forever 21 dress, and dramatically put her fur coat on the stool before saying, “Don’t worry, it’s a fake. Here on the tag, it says faux – oh wait, that says fox.” Her biting humor, juxtaposed against her upscale city-girl routine made her considerably larger in life than she seems on the small screen.

After Leggero, Aukerman introduced a character who stumbled onto the stage playing a clueless San Francisco tourist. His improvisation was a little lost on the crowd. Luckily, the bit didn’t last too long before Aimee Mann took the stage. Admittedly, the pairing took some of the comedic energy out of the night, but a musician with Mann’s talent can play in almost any setting.

The State’s Michael Ian Black brought back the humor full force with one of the strongest acts of the night. We loved Black’s story about the crazy skin rash that he thought might be scabies and was contracted from his au pair – a story for the hypochondriac in all of us. He admitted to the audience he’s not a drinker, but if he could have a cocktail named after him, the “Michael Ian Black” would be an Ambien dipped in Cool Whip. He is an incredible comedic storyteller and if you missed this show, definitely try and see Black the next time he’s in town.

Dana Gould opened his set by asking the audience, “Have you ever dated a goth chick for four or five years before you realize she’s an orthodox jew?” The former Simpsons writer started his comedy career as a stand-up here in San Francisco. He humbly told stories about family life and the crazy way you fight with kids without being able to swear. He is a comic’s comic with depth, range and timing and has the ability to make everyone feel like they “know” him when he is on stage.

Critic’s Notebook

Random Detail: Much of the random audience chit chat from audience members focused on being despondent about Conan not appearing at Sketchfest on Sunday.

By the way: If you are ever in LA, Aukerman hosts the Comedy Death-Ray show every Tuesday out of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

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