From SF Weekly
January 29, 2010
By Jennifer Maerz
Matt Braunger, Connor Kellicut, and Brendan Lynch
SF Sketchfest, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2010 — Punch Line
Better than: Watching Leno. Or Letterman.But definitely better than Leno.
It takes some pretty big balls to be a comedian–getting up there on stage before an expectant (i.e. drunk) crowd, no backing band to help you, having to make the room laugh repeatedly until the dude in the back shines a light alerting you that your time’s up. Personally, I could never do it. But last night, the Punch Line hosted three very different types of comedians–the awkward dude, the family guy, and the smart-ass who made us laugh until we cried–as the final week of Sketchfest proved that a little low self esteem or a lot of beer gut can go a long way in entertaining people.
First up was the uncomfortable comic, Brendan Lynch, who admitted, among other things, that he’s 6′ 6″, and that lot of shorter guys in bars are always trying to fight him. He also confided that he’s awkward, which was as obvious as his height, but his discomfort gave his routine an edge. The more nervous he seemed, the funnier his observations that, say, “balloon animals are just origami for child molesters” became. I especially liked his bit about how much he misses the days when awkward people were simply shouldered out of the conversation.
Lynch was an interesting contrast to the headliner, Matt Braunger, who had such easy confidence you believed his story about telling his crazy uncle he no longer gets nervous being on stage. Braunger is a 10-year-vet in the business, and he’s made it to being on Letterman–not Leno, he corrected, after Lynch gave an incorrect introduction. “I don’t mean to divide the room right away,” Braunger added, “but it’s very important to get that straight these days. I hate Leno.”
That quip was one of the few current events the Los Angeles comedian had in his set. For the most part, Braunger was hilarious simply by picking up age-old topics (cold Chicago weather, male porn vs. female porn, fast food) and observing their absurdities. His female exotic fantasy bit had most of the room in stitches, as Braunger described the way male strippers should really work. Instead of thrusting their package at you from the stage, he explained, women want to be in a setting like Vermont, with the leaves changing, with their car broken down and some blue-eyed stud offering to fix it when suddenly his coveralls come off and he’s naked. His finale, which had the women sitting near us hollering in anticipation when they heard him wind up, was pretty incredible too. It was something like a 20-minute monologue about the difference between eating Taco Bell drunk and eating it sober. I’ll spare you my sober, and far less funny recounting of his astute observations, but if you want to hear him talking about the caulking machine they use for their sour creme, I believe the bit is on his comedy album, Soak Up the Night. Sandwiched between the awkward and the confident was Kyle Kinane(guess he couldn’t make it)…Connor Kellicut, who came off like your typical sit-com funny guy. His jokes about his beer gut and his fantasies of being a pot smoking kid instead of a father of two were less edgy then his counterparts, but still had the room laughing. He seemed comfortable on stage. And while his humor didn’t, say, make you imagine Taco Bell’s 2 a.m. drive-thru as a carnival game where you punch giant buttons for food, he offered amusing variety in approach and punchlines from the other two.
What I like about comedy clubs: I think it’s pretty great that after you see a comedian at the Punch Line, that same person is by the door on your way out, so you can gush all you want about how funny they are (while, I’m sure, they really would prefer you buy the comedy albums they’re standing there selling).
What I don’t like about comedy clubs: Two-drink minimums, especially when a soda water alone sets you back $4 a pop.