[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)