Back in June, I wrote a piece that was mostly a love letter to Marina Franklin as an awesome emcee (a job she HATES to do) and got many excellent suggestions on other amazing hosts I had “left out”... and I know I’ll get more after this one, buuuut here are some more thoughts about hosting from some of my favorite emcees on both coasts.
James L. Mattern is the name on every New Yorker's lips (right after “Ardie”) when you talk about great hosts. The Artist Formerly Known as Maddog now goes by “James” and has been doing a lot more “real” sets lately, so let's not pigeonhole him, but he's really fucking good at it.
(Note: I have kept all punctuation and spacing exactly as Mattern sent it to me because he types like he talks, so read it in his voice)
On the other coast, where hosting is more an obligation to be fulfilled by the youngest guy on the lineup than a respected skillset to be admired, Willie Hunter has always stood out as someone who not only did it well, but took pride in the job well done. He’s regularly hosted The Comedy Store’s Potluck, a 3+ hour extravaganza that can easily fall off and become an arduous trudge in lesser hands. He’s so “hostly” we tease him that he’s the “white David Letterman”
Aaron Berg isn’t typically thought of as a host. He’s had an established career in Canada and the US as a regular comic. But he does host, and he does it well. Mostly at The Stand, including as regular emcee of the sort-of Cringe Humor Show reboot Creeps of Comedy.
Stuart Thompson is another young gun from LA who almost immediately showed skill and enthusiasm for the hosting spots he was given starting out. Whether at The Comedy Store, the Improv or a bar show, Stuart has a knack for giving off the “I’m in control, everything’s going to be fine, I got this” vibe that so often comes in handy.