On December 7, Central Cinema hosted a strong edition of the Central Comedy Show, featuring a headlining set by Gareth Reynolds, famous for his work on Harold and Kumar 3, MTV's Failosophy, the comedy podcast The Dollop—which he co-hosts with comedian Dave Anthony—and writing credits for Arrested Development. He received strong support from regional comics Abraham Tadesse, Chase Roper, Evelyn Jensen, and Brett Hamil. Some observations about the night below...
Regrettably, I arrived midway through Abraham Tadesse's slot. (Did you know there's a world-class Eritrean marathon runner named Tadesse Abraham? Now you do.) Mr. Tadessse offered some funny material about restaurant work and relationships, but his most memorable line was, "If you're eating pussy and you feel like you're about to die, you're halfway there." This is relatable.
Next up, Olympia's Chase Roper began with a bit about anxiety and then—as if on cue—the fire alarm went off. In retrospect, maybe the whole thing was planned? I mean, the timing... Whatever the case, the maddening, staccato noise and strobing light turned the theater into nerve-wracking, burnt-popcorn-smelling gag. Yet Roper remained unflappable throughout, getting off some excellent observations about the predicament. "I've never been heckled by a building before," he calmly quipped. Later, he said, "It's good this is happening over this joke, because I don't like it." Despite the major distraction, Roper's set provoked lots of laughter. I really want to catch him again in an environment where I can hear more than 78 percent of his words.
The alarm situation sorted out, Evelyn Jensen reeled off some amusing bits about how someone as innocuous-looking as her would act as a ghost, internalized homophobia, how bisexuality might be a government conspiracy to unite gays and straights, the unifying power of poop and fart jokes, and a funny opening gambit about how much pussy she was getting: "It's mine, but still..." she sheepishly admitted. (The clip at the end of this post covers a lot of the ground she did at Central Cinema.)
Creator of the Seattle Process and Shadow Council political-humor events at Northwest Film Forum, Brett Hamil avoided politics and found rich seams of humor in the well-trod subjects of parenting, marijuana, and dealing with your spouse's lousy haircut. He also extracted humor from the unpromising topics of Tom of Maine toothpaste and pickles. And I will never forget that joke Hamil told about having one long hair coming out of his ear.
Gareth Reynolds radiates a Green Bay Packers-loving, Midwestern bro vibe, and he delivered an extended riff on how sports broadcasting has become lousy with commercialization that drew roars of laughter. But he was far from a one-shtick pony. Reynolds also unspooled some fascinating observations about the weirdness of animals and ranted about the sorry state of American politics (Trump-bashing quota was met, but dude hates every politician, and it's hard not to side with him). Reynolds submitted that our political system should be more like the menu at Cheesecake Factory—a superabundance of choices. Instead, he noted, "If America was a restaurant, it would be called Shit Plate." The food may be horrible, but at least there are only two real selections. It was Reynolds's anecdote about bonding with a quokka in Australia, however, that lingers most deeply in the memory.
Respect to Central Comedy Show for a thoroughly strong bill. I'd see all of these performers again, infrastructure malfunctions and all.