I'm always a little conflicted about the Meltdown Show. It's become so popular, it's sometimes claustrophobically packed and it does skew a little nerdy for my taste. On the other hand, it's a great fucking show almost every time. I've never once gone and thought "Jesus, how'd this guy get on here?"
But the audience there is one thing I feel nothing but positive about. Sure, sometimes they're all laughing at some joke that's built on references I don't get, but more importantly they're never not laughing when I am. They get it. They like comedy. They come to laugh and have a good time.
Last night, Sean O'Connor was doing an adorably insecure (is that redundant with "Sean O'Connor"?) job guest hosting, Brent Morin delivered a fantastic set as always, Jenny Slate performed what was more like a delightful one woman show than stand-up (also, is "delightful" redundant with "Jenny Slate"?), Yassir Lester brought some young gun heat and sadly, I missed Ron Funches, who I adore.
I will also mention that one nerd reference that NEVER goes over my head is Doctor Who and Meltdown and the Nermelt Theater are decked OUT for this month's 50th anniversary! Wooo.
I stopped at The Store on my way home and was surprised to find the room packed with a happy, friendly crowd too. Wednesdays are usually slow nights that the Paid Regulars use to work in and work out new material for a smattering of drunk tourists who may or may not even understand English. Instead, the audience were totally on board, though I bet even if you don't speak English, you couldn't help but enjoy Sebastian. He's just so damn good at this. Sebastian was followed by another killer, Chris D'Elia, whose "girls are evil masterminds" bit I mentioned seeing the other night at The Improv has tightened up and reached near perfection. One of the other comedians on the show even called it the "best bit anyone in LA is doing right now."
And then something happened that is just The Store, encapsulated. Steve Simeone got to do a rare prime time set. If you don't know Steve Simeone, please read my love letter, or just know that his set is infused with a childlike wonder and openness that you don't usually see. It was a great set which ended with an applause break for a bit about how just going to a Chinese food restaurant can be the best day ever. Then Neal Brennan took the stage and opened with, "Wouldn't is be great if Steve were really an orphan who grew up in foster care and all that stuff about his dad and his brothers was just completely in his head. He's a serial killer." We all laughed, Steve the hardest.
And I don't mean for the takeaway to be "The Store is a harsh place that will crush all positivity," but rather that it's the kind of place where all that awesomeness and all that darkness just coexist in some weird state of equilibrium.