Brian Posehn‘s nerd comedy variety show, Comedy Mutant hit the stage as the kick off event for Comic Con 2013. Before the show, DJ Elliot spun some nerd classics mixed in with dance floor bangers. Seamlessly transitioning from a remix of Taio Cruz‘ “Dynamite” into the Tetris theme song captivated the crowd and got some cosplayers dancing. And all the build up came to a head as he dropped the Star Wars theme song and introduced Brian Posehn.
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The crowd went wild as Posehn graced the stage. Immediately he jumped into a cry for help masquerading as comedy. He talked about in his word how “fat and stupid” he is and how much he hates himself before explaining the shows concept. He explained that each comic would comic would come on stage for a short set before handing it off to the next comic with Posehn headlining the show at the end.
First comic up was Mike Drucker. A writer on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it was eerie how similar Drucker’s material was to Posehn. He joked about committing suicide and how people were laughing at his cry for help. He commented about how fat he was and spent an odd amount of time joking about incest and incest porn. In the end, he was fairly funny–at least funnier than Posehn’s intro.
Drucker introduced Myq Kaplan. Kaplan did not quite have the same obvious nerd appeal as Drucker and Posehn. His schtick was more Judiasm based. He joked about if time travel was a real thing Jews would have used it to kill Hitler and that’s how you know time travel isn’t real. The set took a really odd and somber tone when Kaplan spotted a red light in the audience and halted the show berating the member of the crowd for “recording something that you were told not to record.” Kaplan did manage to turn it around with a simple non-transition of “okay, here’s some more jokes.” The second half of Kaplan’s set was dedicated to drugs. He talked about not enjoying smoking pot which led him to trying mushrooms, he closed his set with the sentiment “liking marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, NOT liking marijuana is a gateway drug.”
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Kaplan then introduced Baron Vaughn. On the night, Vaughn was the funniest. His brand of fast moving comedy had a little nerdiness to it without being quite as much of a down as the other comedians. He talked about not being able to remember basic things but remembering every word to Disney cartoon Tail Spins’ theme song and proceeded to sing it which played really well with the crowd.
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Vaughn introduced Trevor Moore, a guitar playing cowboy comedian. The first two songs fell a bit flat–although I quite enjoyed one about text messages he sends himself while he’s drunk to remember important ideas. His closing track had a video accompaniment and while it was funny it felt like being shown a YouTube clip which made the comedian onstage completely expendable.
Moore introduced the big special guest of the night, Janeane Garofalo. Garofalo was the biggest train wreck of the night. Seeming completely unprepared, she rambled from one story to a lang aside to another story with never finishing one idea. At one point in her ADD set she even admitted that she was not very good at writing jokes. It was funny because it was true.
Garofalo left the stage before returning remembering that she was supposed to reintroduce Brian Posehn to finish the set. Posehn managed to not be too depressing to close the show. He talked about his friend comparing a food to “angel cum” and then he described the sauce on a steak “like angels jerked off all over it” which made it weird. He closed the set talking about Star Wars, really playing to his audience. Morbidly he said he didn’t care about other people, himself, his health, only Star Wars. Still he got a rousing round of applause when he left the stage.
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I’m the end the show really shown the light on nerd comedy’s dark underbelly which is filled with self-hatred and constantly on the verge of suicide. It definitely felt less of a celebratory event for the convention’s kickoff than a stark reminder that nerd culture has a lot of sadness to it.