He opened with a good 10-12 minutes of riffing about the Meatpacking District (he thinks it's great because he loves cocaine!), the name Comix (the x lets you know you're in for a surprise!), and the odd makeup of the crowd (called out one table for looking like they couldn't get into the Sex and the City premiere).
The place was pretty packed but I was surprised that some of the audience seemed to have no idea who PFT was. I forget that some people just randomly show up at a comedy club on a Saturday night. One guy in the front row even fell asleep which PFT seemed to find extremely amusing. It was fun to watch him handle people talking in the crowd, going to the bathroom, and other shit like that.
He made a big deal of the fact that he was fucking around upfront and teased the audience about when he would start written material. When he eventually launched into it, he gave it a big Michael Buffer-like intro: "Ladies and gentlemen, HERE COMES THE MATERIAL!" Later on he said, "I must tell the stories on the piece of paper or else I will crumble to dust."
The material was all really solid. An extended bit on the Magic Castle was probably my fave. And he even bravely tackled a long bit about his mom's funeral. He intro'd it with a warning along the lines of: "When you hear the opening statement of this story, you will say, "I do not like where this is headed at all, if that is the beginning.' But wait until you see how i weave my magic!" And he pulled it off.
He even got a round of applause for his pinstriped suit and nice shoes after audience members yelled out some comments. I've never seen someone's outfit get a round of applause before.
The great thing about PFT: He's operating on multiple levels. There's this whole highbrow/lowbrow thing going on where he sounds like some snotty intellectual while also mocking people like that at the same time. There's something there for comedy snobs yet people who don't know shit about comedy can also enjoy it too.
And the musical way he changes up his voice and rhythms is really masterful too. He gets away with telling 5-10 minute stories because even when he's not telling a jokey joke, he's still funny. It's just there in his delivery. Like when says, "Oh, folks!" Just that and ya can't help but laugh. Impressive.
He came out after the show and shook some hands at the bar at Comix. I wasn't exactly sober and for some reason this is what I said to open our conversation: "I'd like to lavish some praise on you in a non-creepy way." He was a good sport but, hmm, is there anything more creepy than someone telling you they're not going to be creepy? Gotta work on my approach!
Related: Sarah Hayley recaps the early show at AST and says the crowd was weird at that one too:
Wow. That was...bizarre. I was at the 8:30 show tonight (Saturday) and the crowd was just awful. Paul was SO great, I had never seen his standup and it was a very funny set. However, this “jaded soccer mom”, as she proudly called herself, was a cunt and a half. The show was a bit slow to start, but not unfunny-- just mellow. Paul said he was going to start his rehearsed set soon (“getting to the paper”) and this whiny bitch shouts a minute later, “Do the paper!” First of all, shut up. Second of all, she was the only one in the room not enjoying the first part. Paul handled this moment, along with the other THREE times she yelled uncalled-for rude crap, like the pro that he is, and it became its own joke. She was still incredibly annoying the entire night though, and I couldn’t ignore her since I was sitting right there. She even admitted that she didn’t have any clue who Paul was. PFT! He’s PFT! How do you not know who he is? Seriously! Even if you just got dragged along to the show, you couldn’t have at least googled him? Christ. I was having trouble focusing on the show because I was so busy intensely loathing her. And then there were the two drunks up front, who ended up just being highly entertaining and great fodder for Paul’s improvising. So, to sum it up, fabulous show, god-awful crowd. I think from now on I’m sticking to Rififi and UCBT, I never want to go to another two-drink minimum club again.
I agree a non-clubby venue would be a nice, um, alternative next time.