Ok, this is going to be the technically wonkiest Comedy Lover Letter ever, just fair warning.

Despite the maxim that everyone's journey through a comedy career is unique, there are certain fulcrum points we all agree on (despite knowing dozens of exceptions).  Usually around 2 years in is when you start to really see who has a chance and who is going to (or should) quit - the voice is developing, jokes are tighter, better written, and string together into sensible sets.  Then somewhere in the year 5-8 vicinity (plus or minus 3 years) is when a standup gets enough of the technical underpinnings in hand to begin to allow themselves to really shine through - their voice is strong and drives a very coherent set, they are comfortable living in the moment on stage so they can slide between written and off-the-cuff material with a smooth transition.  And then it's not until around a dozen years in that you begin to see the real greatness that may have been hinted at over the past few years.

And there is something soooooo cool about watching someone make that middle transition, seeing a comedian you've been enjoying for a while "level up" and start to consistently crush under any circumstance.  And I've had the pleasure of watching both Vladimir Caamaño and Matteo Lane do just that recently.

In Vlad's case, his set has mostly been sort of family/autobiographical for some time, lovingly skewering his family so the audience gets to know who he is and where he came from.  More recently, he's shifted to the kind of jokes where you actually get to know him, and see how the mind of Vlad ticks.  It's kind of the difference between reading someone's wikipedia page or listening to them talk on a podcast for an hour.  It creates a stronger, more tangible connection with the crowd and gives the crowd more trust in Vlad, which in turn lets Vlad stretch out, experiment, and improvise, so you walk away not just going, "He's good" but actually thinking "wow!"  And he's done all this without straying away from being a fairly clean and universally relatable comic.

Speaking of Wow, Matteo Lane has been getting that for years.  His strong personality has driven a strong onstage persona for a while now, plus those pipes! Matteo's already a ways down the road from "Telling the audience who you are" to "showing the audience who you are through your material" but what's really struck me lately is his tremendously agile crowdwork.  Not to mention the smooth gear shifting in between the improvised and the written that lets him harness all the energy from the one and ride it through the other.  Particularly in smaller crowds, watching him unite the audience members behind him is just plain impressive.

So, do yourself a favor and check out Vlad and Matteo while they're still comedy young enough for you to catch them on the cheap!

AuthorAmy Hawthorne