Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Da Baum

[Comedy: Review] Wiseguys is the venue where accomplished veterans showcase their talent and young comedians try their hand. Before headliner Bruce Baum took the stage on Nov. 16, Wiseguys' line-up proved promising.

The moment MC Aaron Burrell appeared, he began charming the audience. His personal, although exaggerated, stories lead to some great self-deprecating humor. His jokes often seemed familiar, but the punch line always landed somewhere unexpected and hilarious.

Then came John Hilder, who alienated the audience almost immediately. His act was intolerable: jokes about blacks lacking financial responsibility; digs at Hispanics; slams of little people. The laughter died fast.

The third comedian, Blake Bard salvaged the evening with his Vince Vaughn looks and wealth of experience for the stage. Bard is well-traveled and it shows. He’s comfortable in his skin and in front of a crowd, blending perfect timing with a slightly dark edginess.

With audience confidence restored, Bruce Baum proved to be the seasoned veteran he is. From the moment he took the stage, he owned it. His enthusiasm and ease were immediately disarming. Suddenly, this was his house and he was there to show this audience a great time.

With his signature prop comedy, Baum entertained with the eagerness of a boy, minus some of the crude humor. His act felt spontaneous: jokes, poems and impressions flowed from him one right after the other.

But the best moments were his songs. The audience was favored first with a tune called "Cow-ifornication "in which Baum, dressed in a cow costume, sang his own version of "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers—or as he called them, "the Red Hot Chili Heifers." But it wasn’t the cow suit that got all the laughs. It was his clever rewrite of the song—although, the image of a grown man in a cow costume was amusing.

Baum then suggested that 20 years ago he recorded a song which was recently ripped off by the Pussycat Dolls. Sure, they changed a few words, he claimed, but Baum’s version is the real deal. As a music video of Baum played on the monitors, he sang out "Don't Cha Wish Your Boyfriend Was Bald Like Me?" It was a beyond-hilarious show-stopper.

Throughout his set, Baum kept his momentum. His writing was quick and witty, and you had to be fast to keep up. He performs like the guy determined to keep you laughing, the guy you’d like to have as a friend.

Take any chance to catch Burrell, Bard or Baum in the future. But plan a bathroom break around Hilder. (Tawnya Cazier)


  1. I think that Tawnya is the best writer that is out there. She knows how visually interpet the comedy show. She really knocked this one out of the ball park!!! She has alot ahead of her in the writing field...

  2. I agree with "anonymous" totally. Tawnya Caziers' review was snappy, very interesting, and to the point. Perfect!

    This is the first review I've seen by her, but I remember reading a fantastic mood piece on fly fishing by a Tawnya Cazier, (I'm sure the same person) awhile back, plus a few other pieces. Would like to see more.

    Great review!

  3. Yeah anonymous you're definitely not fucking Tawnya or anything...and Campbell, you're thinking of another Tawnya Cazier.

    Unless this reporter is from 1988, she should not be giving glowing reviews of Bruce fucking Baum. But I suppose in Utah it's probably 1988 right now. Spoiler alert: the Berlin Wall is coming down soon!

  4. Local Comedy EnthusiastJanuary 16, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    I was at this particular show, and I think Tawnya is correct in the context of this night, but her critique of Hilder is very narrow and doesn't look at the scope of the entire night, let alone, comedy in Utah as a whole.

    John is a Vegas comedian who has had to tailor his act to a Utah audience. Often times his humor plays very well here, but due to the mundane, PG pace of Aaron's hosting, the crowd wasn't ready for John's humor. Instead of saying that John's act is an apt time for a bathroom break, perhaps we need to look at situations where his humor would play. For instance, when he hosts and can set up the tone for the night by himself. Or on nights when the crowd is a little younger and more liberal (i.e. Sunday nights, or the Saturday late show). Granted, John should have gotten a feel for the crowd that Aaron was establishing and adjusted his act accordingly, but to say his comedy has no merit based on one night and scenario is unfair and narrow-sighted.


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