That was Saturday at the Woodshed mic. Yes, Ray showed his dick. Also, he dropped the n-word repeatedly. Yelled at the only audience members too. Called people gay and bad comics and (mock) hit on girls too. Did big chunks of time between comics. Got choked after the show by a black guy who didn't like the n-word stuff. Yes, choked. Also, he made it almost impossible for any comic to actually do material.
Just a normal mic hosting session by Ray Combs, Jr. Say what you want about his technique, but he manages to do something really hard: He makes NYC open mics fun. Mean as shit, but fun.
He doesn't give a fuck about "making it." He's trying to get to something real instead of honing a tight 5 or trying to get on TV (there's a little self-sabotage at work too). The twist is how he takes that attitude and then challenges all the comedians in the room too. On Saturday, he said something like: "You all say you like Louis CK so much but then you get up here and you do the same stupid jokes that are nothing at all like what Louis CK does."
After Ray does his thing, telling little, clever jokes seems like a cop out. He creates an environment where you have to bring something real or authentic or honest or else you're doomed. It's a shitty place to try out certain kinds of jokes. But it's a good way to try to get to something more genuine in your act. There are so many comics who are just really unfunny when doing jokes. But when they drop that bullshit and start just talking it's at least interesting — and usually winds up funnier anyway. For me, that's the real magic of what Ray does at mics.
Portrait of a Comedian Episode 28 with Ray is a good look at his style and why he is that way. So is the episode of We're All Friends Here that he was on. And he sometimes hosts the mic at The Village Lantern on Wednedays. Really, it's something you need to see live to appreciate.
FYI, since he sometimes talks about his dad in his act, it's interesting to see Ray Sr. doing his act on Carson:
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 9/14/2010