Stand-ups take on tough crowd

Never provoke a comedian.

It doesn’t matter if the show started late or if the microphone wasn’t on — or when it was turned on, it was too loud. Comedians are like mountain lions–corner them and they will leap for the throat.

When their ears could take no more of a shrieking microphone, some of the crowd at the comedy show headlined by Zach Galifianakis in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium on Friday night took it upon themselves to let opening act Ryan Stout have it. The sound technicians scrambled backstage and fixed the problem, but the gauntlet had already been thrown down.

Stout went on with his act without another distraction, but when the next comedian, Tig Notaro, started to ask about three-way sex, a man hooted in approval.

“Really?” she said. “You sound alone.”

She continued, “Have you ever been involved in a ménage a trois where you ended up being the ‘nah.'”

Eager for his 15 minutes of fame to continue, the same man let out another hoot. He slowed when Notaro asked him if he hooked up, and he said no.

“Looks like this was a good time to lie and interrupt,” Notaro said. “I’ll probably do it again later, too. It’ll be equally as anti-climactic.”

When she mentioned she was from Los Angeles, Notaro was greeted by a warm chorus of “Dodgers suck.”

“I know,” she said. “I’m on my way here and I was thinking, ‘God, I hope they want to talk about baseball.'”

Finally, Galifianakis took the stage with the visor he once used for panhandling pulled over his head. He described the look to his stylist as “The Amber Alert.”

“When you look like I do, it’s hard to get a table for one at Chuck E. Cheese,” Galifianakis said.

Most of his act circled around understated, self-deprecating one-liners snapping after the applause faded.

“I had to gain weight for a part–that’s a complete lie,” Galifianakis said.

He quickly turned to an upright piano and started twinkling a melody as background to fill the silence between his jokes.

“For five years now I’ve been addicted to cold turkey,” Galifianakis said. “I always tell people I’m quitting cold turkey and they ask me, ‘What are you quitting?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m quitting cold turkey.'”

“The only time it’s good to yell out, ‘I’ve got diarrhea,’ is when you’re playing Scrabble ’cause it’s worth a shitload of points.”

He took a moment to step away from the piano and indulge the audience with a few of the characters he has developed over his career, like the 5-year-old who hates having a beard, the dumbest guy on earth and the forgetful vegan.

“Man that sure was good pepperoni pizza,” Galifianakis said.

There were no reprisals from the audience during Galifianakis’ act. Unlike Notaro did at first, he didn’t engage the audience members head on. Instead, he took a page out of Stout’s book and distracted them with his act.

Before Galifianakis’ act, Stout started with a common problem people have–you buy something and then somebody else finds the exact same thing for less.

“My friend just started supporting one of those third-world kids and he’s paying 47 cents a week,” he said. “I started supporting a similar kid–36 cents a week. You can’t buy love.”

Stout went on to describe another thrifty opportunity he had at an STD clinic where it costs $10 to be tested, but if they find anything, it’s waived. Unfortunately somebody stole his wallet, so a clean test would be embarrassing. He needed help from above.

“I’m just praying that I had syphilis or gonorrhea,” he said. “And you know what, the good lord came through.”

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