I can't exactly tell you why I decided Saturday was the day to head down and finally experience The Comedy Store La Jolla. Sure, if pressed I could say I've been interested in getting a longer look at Mat Edgar, that I always enjoy Ari Shaffir and Steve Rannazzisi, or that I just needed a change of comedy scenery, But, honestly, it just sort of hit me as the best idea ever while I was sitting at work on Friday. So, my Partner in Crime Jen and I gassed up and headed down I-5 on Saturday afternoon.
Because we aren't really punctual folks, and the show was sold out, we ended up seated at a couple of tables in the back corner. Of course, Jen and I just smiled and joked that it felt like our usual seats at the Hollywood Store and we were pretty happy about the situation.
My first impression of the LJ Store is that "This is no Original Room." Unlike the notoriously toughest room in comedy, these people laughed at everything. Even the beats in the middle that just need a chuckle to keep the momentum of the bit were getting full on laugh breaks. At first, the evil cynic in me was almost annoyed at this crowd and their obviously unrefined comedy taste. But then I saw how that kind of energy from the crowd isn't just false confidence for bad comics, but it lets good comics be even better.
I really enjoyed seeing longer-than-the-OR sets from all of these guys. With more than the 3 minutes I ususally see of him at potluck, Mat's onstage charm and ease really gets to shine and his "third thing I fear about unprotected sex with strangers" bit had enough room to settle so he could throw some great tags on it. (By the way, Mat's fear is that the young lady in question will be murdered later that night, making him the prime suspect). And Ari's set was such a pleasure to watch. Between the longer time and the appreciative crowd, it felt like he had so much space and comfort to make every bit even funnier than usual. I've been accidentally stalking Ari for the past couple of weeks, so I've been watching this new bit about going in the the wrong hole (but the opposite way than usually happens) evolve. It was pretty damn funny even the first time I saw it, but last night was the best I've ever seen it. And I can give Steve the same compliments. Yeah, I've seen the stoned pizza guy bit a million times, and probably seen most of his 40 minute set in 15 minute chunks here and there, but something about having that expansive time and the super-supportive crowd (not that Steve ever has a problem connecting with any crowd) made it a Whole is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts experience.