What's New? is a new live show/podcast at the Nerdmelt theater/on the Nerdist podcast network. It's in the vein of Kevin Nealon's show at The Laugh Factory or PYHT at UCB (or, as producer and host Christian Spicer describes it, it's the evolution of the "Bits on Bits" segment of his old podcast Stand Ups Sit Down ). Three comedians each do a short set of new material, then join Spicer in the podcast studio to discuss those bits while the live audience is treated to a longer set from the headliner.
The inaugural edition featured Dean Delray, Brent Morin, Jerrod Carmichael and Zach Sherwin. I always enjoy watching comedians work on new material, but especially in settings where it's blessed or expected. I think that comes from my Store upbringing, which also made me the only person in the room laughing at the darkest tag on a bit Dean tried out about Vietnam.
Brent's set was the most fun to watch from a fangirl perspective because he kept it uncharacteristically calm. If you know Brent's stand-up, it tends to be very high energy, building momentum though callbacks and act outs. But those aren't parlor tricks to cover a lack of substance, which was evident from this set. It was a little like watching Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" on Unplugged. [I realize this is a bit of a dated cultural reference, so if you weren't a 16 year old girl when that song came out, the metaphor is that here was this very popular rock song that was loud and angry and then when she played it in an acoustic set, a lot of critics talked about how it revealed how good the song was on a technical level and connected with the more accessible emotion, sadness].
Jerrod made a new BFF in Jeremy, a kid in the front row who just moved to LA yesterday and came to the show because he's such a fan of Nerdist podcasts. When not talking to Jeremy, he chatted with podcast producer Katie as a way of covering new topics. Zach finished the night with a nice long set, starting with some new material, including a great one liner about Wolverine, and ending with a number of his (actually relatively newer) raps.