Recent sets by Rick Shapiro, Zach Galifianakis, and Louis CK

Rick Shapiro: Crazy rant performance art style. Dirty as shit. Half the crowd walked out during his set. He wasn't suprised. The man has seen some dark things methinks. The good part: rambling shamanic style to his delivery. Not holding back on anything. Bukowskiesque.

Zach Galifianakis: Hour set in front of big crowd at Irving Plaza. Just absolutely killed it. He's so on top of his shit right now. Felt like the comedy equivalent of seeing Radiohead right after OK Computer came out. Mixes the one-liner piano jokes with more conventional style and incorporates some crowdwork walking through the aisles and then closes with a big musical number.

The one liner quick hit style is all about rhythm. It's like a boxer who relies on his jab. You just keep peppering and peppering and wearing down the audience. And the whole thing builds a rhythm. The audience starts to get the "beat" and knows when the punch lines are going to come. And once you've got 'em, you've got 'em. It builds like a wave. At that point, even when a joke's only mediocre, it still gets laughs. This paragraph has way too many analogies. I'm gonna stop now.

Louis CK: Showed up again at Stand Up NY to work on material. Did exactly the same set as the previous week, just fine tuning it. Experimenting with just changing a word here or a phrase there and getting the timing just right. There was 15 people there, dead room, and he still got 'em. Guy just seems like such a pro when he's up there. My fave bit from the set is where compares girls and women (e.g. "there's no 'women gone wild' 'cuz when women go wild, they kill their husband and drown their kids in a tub.")

Headed out soon after that with Dan and Joe (other comics at the club) and wound up waiting on the subway platform with Louis. We said hey and nice set and then left him alone. On the train there was some crazy guy singing out loud along with his iPod. We were joking and shooting the shit and then Louis came over to chat. We asked him about his new material and he said he's working on putting together another hour's worth of material. He was headed to the Cellar, presumably to do the same set again. He doesn't know where/when it'll wind up. We talked a bit about his last HBO special and then it was time to get off the train.

It was striking to me because so many comics seem so obsessed with hierarchy BS that they won't even talk to comics who they think are "beneath" them. Or they'll just crack on them. Yet Louis, who's got HBO specials, didn't give a shit. He just came over and said hey and was a regular guy willing to talk, even though we're just three comics starting out. Puts getting blown off by some hack in perspective.

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