Being the huge nerd that I am, I get way too excited when someone tells me things like, "I produced a young comedians showcase at The Comic Strip 20 years ago and we had Louis CK, Ray Romano, Dave Attell..." or "I was on my college's activities committee so I got to see Jeff Ross, Robert Kelly, and Dave Chappelle's NACA tapes!" And being the comedy-aggrandizing narcissist that I am, I can't help but step back from certain moments and think, "This is one of the ones I'm going to pull out to amaze some young comedy nerd in 15 years." And Sam Morril's album release party at The Village Underground was one of those. The show was stacked with Sam's best friends, and it's no coincidence they are also some of the most talented and fastest rising young comedians in the city. It was a fantastic celebration of Sam's big step and of the New York comedy scene in general.
So if you're in the market for a new favorite comedian that you'll get to love for years to come, you can't go wrong with any of these.
Sam Morril: Class Act
The man of the hour! While it's technically not Sam's first album (he has an earlier one that he recorded just to sell at road gigs), his Comedy Central debut does a great job of capturing what's special about Sam - his excellent writing and charmingly dark perspective. Sam's a degenerate with a heart of gold and knows when to make himself the butt of a joke without being cowingly self-deprecating, but he takes plenty of hilarious shots at the idiots all around us. It was recorded this summer at The Village Underground, so it's about as New York as you can get without rats and smelly piles of garbage.
Machi doesn't have an album out yet, so do yourself a favor and see him live. He's touring all over the country all the time and regularly at basically every club in the city when he's home. You're probably already familiar with Machi's charms thanks to Last Comic Standing, but he's even more fun live. Without the network censors hemming him in, he leverages his awkwardly naive persona to slip in some of the darkest and edgiest observations the way you hide kids' medicine in ice cream.
Phil is something a little bit different and very special. His comedy is just a couple degrees away from strict setup-punch stand-up, but not so far the audience has to put in effort to "get" him. While many of his jokes do follow the standard one-liner misdirect formula, he also works in longer bits and generally breaks the fourth wall, including an audience member (or on Tuesday, a lesbian couple) in his act. But even that isn't traditional crowdwork, he really incorporates his target into the structure and content of his act with an over-the-top bravado that is, itself, hilarious. Plus, he's got a sweet beard.
I am convinced that Rachel Feinstein is some kind of Dorian Gray vampire because she not only has gotten funnier and funnier every year, she gets better looking. Is that relevant? I mean, let's be honest, in our looks-obsessed culture, yes. But anyway, back to everything else Rachel excels at, which is, well, everything. She strikes just the right tone of relatable annoyance in a set filled with great writing and fantastic voice characterizations of the menagerie of weirdos and idiots she's come across. She's probably the most famous/recognizable of the bunch, with about a million TV credits to her name, including a great cameo in Trainwreck.
I think that my love of Joe List, as well as the love of his fellow comedians and finally the industry, is pretty well documented. I could repeat myself with the why's and how's of his talent, but basically he's just the best, you should love him, and if you don't love him it's because you haven't seen him yet and you should rectify that immediately.
But here's a nice little bit Joe said that's relevant to Sam's release:
Me, Mark, Sam Morril, Phil Hanley and Gary Vider are all a pretty close-knit group and we are
competitive. Not about getting things like The Tonight Show, but it’s competitive in the sense of “Man, he’s got a killer new bit, I’ve got to keep up.” That is so much of our success, I think.
The only Angeleno of the bunch and an excellent addition to the show! I have been a big fan of Beth's dry wit, delivery and confidence for a while now. She's another one who, while if you strip her act down to fundamentals, she's telling you properly structured jokes, there's a lot more going on than that. The additional layers of how she delivers jokes and weaves them together into little stories aren't just style, they also add to the laughter and the whole experience.
Ahhh, fast talking, hard working, compulsively writing Mark. With his old timey voice and innocent looking face, you wouldn't expect him to be plumbing the dark depths of race, sexuality and... menopause? Mark's the guy whose jokes are what we were all thinking, but afraid to say out loud, pushing the societal nonsense we spew to be polite or PC to hilarious hyperbole. Like most of the guys on this lineup, it feels like he writes a new, good five or ten minutes of material in the time it takes for you to go to the bathroom and back.