As much as I love getting to see a "normal" show with a great lineup and lots of structure, there are certain shows - or even just moments in a show - that make me fall in love with a scene, venue or performer. They're the messy, adventurous moments where everyone gets to see a little peek behind the curtain. And that's exactly what What's Your F#@king Deal delivered.
Billed as an all-crowdwork show, hosted by the East Coast's crowdwork champ, Big Jay Oakerson, at times it veered into straight material, a group roast, and just a weird kind of group chat. It was beautiful.
Jay started off the show with some in-the-crowd assistance from Ardie Fuqua. Ardie (and his reportedly gigantic penis) really became the unbilled star of the show by the end. But at that point, he provided a nice banter partner for Jay and eyes on the ground in the dark showroom. The obvious targets - the guy in the lime green short in the front row, the guy with a fauxhawk in the front row, the only table with any black people in the entire show - all got a little bit of attention.
Then Keith Robinson came up like the drunk uncle of the proceedings. He talked to those same folks, to a maybe-lesbian, went into some written material, then opened the door to the ensuing roasty pileup by calling out Ardie's white girl preferences. So, when Luis Gomez went up, he went right into Keith, saying "I'll stand up here and bomb for ten minutes before I pull a Keith Robinson [and do written material]" Keith got on the second mic and swung back. Then Luis started telling tales from Jay's past and Jay took on mic to defend himself and there was pretty much always a phantom voice giving the guy onstage some kind of shit.
I asked one of the tourists who were seated at our table if it was too inside baseball and they said, "No, I can follow all the jokes. You can tell these guys all know each other really well, but it's not like they're talking about things we can't all catch on about."
Jay and Ardie kept up their banter in between the sets and at this point brought the first of many audience members onstage - A drunk young Indian lady celebrating her birthday. Ardie and Jay took turns making surprisingly accurate (and, of course, funny) guesses about her life.
Bonnie McFarlane was up next and came right out with, "Is this supposed to be a crowdwork show or minority shenanigans?" She zeroed in on a guy and threw out "I can't tell, are you a wigger or mentally challenged.. because I often make that mistake?" He claimed he was an aspiring rapper and wormed his way up onstage to battle Bonnie, at which point he chickened out and admitted he'd just made that up.
Attell went up next and was unsurprisingly great (SHUT UP, JAY). And then Dan Soder capped off the evening with a tag team set with Jay that was just one long, rolling bunch of hysterical laughter. I honestly can't remember what they were saying, besides that it was mostly about dicks, because it was just that non-stop laughter that doesn't give you even a second to file things away into your memory.. or really even breathe.
As if that weren't enough, I stuck around for the Legion of Skanks podcast taping afterward, which I could write a whole article about on its own, but I'll let you just listen when the episode with Rob Mailloux drops.