Having attended "Comedy Central Stars Under the Stars," the stand-up show that took place last night in Central Park as a part of the annual NYC-wide Summer Stage festival, I once again saw that LOL is not just something one puts in the end of his or her text message. For the most part, the comedians did a great job entertaining the crowd and connecting with it, and the warm after-rain air served as a wonderful setting for a fun night out.
Excited about listening to the famous Comedy Central stand-up performers, no one minded standing in a mile-long entrance line. As a result, the place was packed, and lots of people who showed up late and could not get in stood behind the fences. Yes, many Summer Stage events are free, but one needs to come as early as possible to get good spots. Aside from the VIP area with white folding chairs, there was lots of room on the ground. Experienced Summer Stage visitors made sure to bring blankets or towels to sit on. Beer and wine were sold at the event to those over 21 with a valid ID. In other words, it was a mass picnic with live entertainment in the heart of New York City.
As the crowd was consuming cold beer and yummy-smelling food sold on site, the show began with an opening set by Dan Soder, who talked about New York and the ways of surviving in the city. As the crowd learned, the best way to avoid being mugged and beaten in a shady neighborhood was to fake a Russian accent because no one would dare to mess with a Russian. His witty jokes got the crowd into the laughing mood right away. Sadly, his performance ended soon, and he was followed by the host of the evening, Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias.
Of all the comedians, Iglesias did the best job communicating with the crowd. He constantly picked on the AT&T crowd located to the right from the stage and addressed the first rows, whom he warned that were he to fall down from the stage, they would have a smashing 3D experience. A Mexican-American from Los Angeles, Iglesias told a lot of hilarious jokes about different kinds of Latinos. According to him, the word "Latino" appeared in order not to insult a Puerto Rican by calling him a Dominican, etc. He also demonstrated his ability to laugh at himself, his appearance and adventures, which the crowd definitely appreciated.
When it was time for Iglesias to get off the stage, he announced the next comedian, the "Workaholics" star Adam DeVine who did not get as much applause as the previous performers. His jokes could be divided into two categories: stories about himself being recognized in the street for the first few times and the "bad ideas your beer whispers into your ear as you are drinking it" that sounded like extracts from anti-drinking commercials. But even with all that, he would undoubtedly be funnier if he did not say the word "stupid" after every other joke.
In contrast to DeVine's "beer talk," the following comedian, John Mulaney, announced up front that he was a recovering alcoholic, and therefore, a non-drinker. He also told stories about his life, and his monologue was charged with positive energy. For instance, when he talked about an unsuccessful stand-up show he had in Tennessee, he admitted that one of the audience members called him off the stage so eloquently that it could have been a line from a poem, "The silence would be more pleasant than the sound of your voice." Mulaney ended his performance with the analysis of the saying "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?" in which he discussed, in a funny and loving way, a few good reasons why a man would want to get married.
As the evening progressed, live entertainment became more diverse. The next comedian, Jeffrey Ross, not only talked, but also made fun of twelve volunteers from the audience who were courageous and fast enough to get on the stage. In addition, he sang, played the guitar and danced. His monologue relied heavily on sex, and he was pretty fresh with the female volunteers, and even with a teenage couple, who should not have been listening to him, let alone come up on stage (Iglesias, who said a few words before and after every comedian, asked the parents of the children not to press charges and assured the crowd that Comedy Central did not share any of Ross's opinions). Jokes aside, Ross's humor, overall, was good-natured and not insulting to anyone. The brightest note of his performance was the last song, "Have a Blessed F-ing Day," which gave the audience another charge of positive energy.
Finally, the last comedian of the night was Amy Schumer, the star of Comedy Central's new series, "Inside Amy Schumer." She happened to be the only female performer, and her humor dealt mostly with women and topics that interest them: relationships, sex, appearance, self-confidence etc. She was quite funny, but the crowd did not receive it too well when she said that Blacks stole everything from Native Americans. She also appeared a little too self-centered, compared to her colleagues.
Even though some jokes and comedians turned out to be more memorable than others, the audience remained positive and supportive throughout the evening. Laughs and applause were heard from all directions, and people eagerly whistled to express love for their favorite stars. There is really nothing to lose attending Summer Stage: if you like it, you'll have the time of your life, and if you don't, you paid nothing for it, so you can leave any time and do something else. My favorite part about living in New York is that something is always going on. All we have to do is to learn about it and find time to attend it.