Reveiw of 8/28/09 Friday night’s 20th Comedy Meltdown at Meltdown Comics on Sunset
Three of the comedians who performed (Kinane, Howard Kremer, and surprise headliner Aziz Ansari) debuted new material. I’ve seen Kinane a handful of times over the past year and his set at Meltdown, a high culture polemic tossed with some low culture minutiae, showed off his top form. It’s rare for an artist to shovel out the old and incorporate the new so perfectly
It’s rarer still when the new material works without any stylistic incorporation. In 2007, Howard Kremer’s set was good enough to be showcased in a half-hour Comedy Central special. The showcase was for Kremer’s alter-ego and rap alias, Dragon Boy Suede, and designed to do for rap what Tenacious D did for folk. But at Meltdown, his set changed completely. Kremer didn’t hunch over and hype-mock a culture; he just stood on stage and told us to, “Have a summah.”
He told us about chewing his summer gum, about rolling around with his summer partners in the summer sand. Of course, none of this sounds funny—that’s one of the pitfalls of reviewing a comedy show—but in the heat of Meltdown’s back room, Kremer’s summer stories took on a true vitality, imploring us lost Angelenos to appreciate the gift of our single but spectacular season. It was like witnessing A Prairie Home Companion from an alternate universe, one in which that radio stalwart manages to be funny for those of us under 65. Kramer’s was easily the best set of the night.
Aziz Ansari had the bad luck of following Kremer, but possess an unapologetically quick wit. Some light heckling from the front row was addressed and dispensed without remorse.
The comedians standing in the back of the room were as boisterous as the audience. Most of them write for or star in television shows. All of them decided to donate their time to what is ostensibly a charity. You can’t help but feel special when sitting in a room like that, drinking beer out of an Asahi tallboy, enjoying the final days of summah.