One of the greatest standup performances I've ever seen in my life was Greg Giraldo years ago at Crash Test at UCB (before I ever started doing standup).
A lot of the alt guys who performed on Crash Test were alt-y and got by with being clever. Giraldo was on a different plane.
He came out like a tornado. Stalking all over the stage, full of venom. He was really fucking smart. He was talking about important things. It wasn't setup/punch and then setup/punch. You couldn't even tell where one joke ended and another began. It all flowed together seamlessly. He was angry and right and hilarious and didn't give a fuck. It didn't seem preplanned or scripted. The words just seemed to tumble out of his mouth in perfect order. I was a comedy naif at the time, but I remember feeling that it was downright shamanic. He just pummeled the crowd.
This was right after I moved to NYC and I'd only just begun to watch live standup regularly. And that Giraldo set, along with a Patton Oswalt set I saw at Rififi right around the same time, opened my eyes up to the power and magic that live standup can deliver. There was something mystical about it. I was entranced. And that's when I decided I wanted to try it too.
When I think about Greg Giraldo, that set is what I'll always remember. I'm thankful I was in the room that night and grateful for the impact it had on my life.
Sandpaper Suit is NYC standup comic Matt Ruby's (now defunct) comedy blog. Keep in touch: Sign up for Matt's weekly Rubesletter. Email email@example.com.
The first time I saw Greg Giraldo
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Giraldo will be missed. Every time someone with talent dies young, a big grin washes over Yoko Ono's face.
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