Standup is not an easy thing to do. You might think you're funny, but funny takes on a new definition when you're stranded on stage with just a microphone, a spotlight, and a judgmental audience. Today we talked comedy with Jason Zinoman, first-ever comedy critic for The New York Times. While researching the show, I watched a lot of comedy (what a job I have!) so I thought it would be fun to provide you with a sampling of a few of my favorite performers. Caution: some of these sketches may contain NSFW language so, you know, don't blast it at your desk.
A native of Chicago, Buress wrote for Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, and he co-stars on the hilariously absurd Eric Andre Show on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim." The 29-year-old comedian hosts a weekly standup show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn every Sunday. (I'm dying to go.) If you're living in Hartford, you may have seen Buress a few weeks ago -- he's touring alongside Dave Chappelle on the Oddball Comedy Tour.
Her style trades in discomfort. The topics can be serious - bipolar disorder, OCD, her dysfunctional family, but with Bamford, you can't help but laugh. A few months back, Bamford did a wonderful interview with NPR's Terry Gross. She's also a sought-after voiceover talent in the cartoon industry. Here's a selection from her 2009 Christmas special, which was taped in her apartment.
If you dig stream of consciousness humor, you'll love Reggie Watts. Famous for making up a lot of his material on the spot, Watts currently stars as the sidekick on the IFC talkshow Comedy Bang Bang. Check out this TED talk to get "disoriented in the most entertaining way."
Lots of comedians perfect on-stage personas and Natasha Leggero is no exception. Her "privileged white lady from somewhere in Connecticut" style of delivery might rankle some, but I think it's hilarious. Leggero played the sex obsessed Haley in the web series Burning Love and recently landed a spot on the new Comedy Central series "Drunk History." She's even done some work with Reggie Watts (who provides live commentary/music during some of her shows).
Hedberg died in 2005, but his influence on the world of standup grows year after year. His style of rapid-fire one liners continues to influence comedians every day. As his website says, chances are someone, somewhere is laughing at one of his thoughts right now.