REVIEW: Dave Landau

To say I was severely unimpressed would be a vast understatement, yet to call the experience uncomfortable would be an even greater one. The show began innocuously enough, with opening sets from local comedians Jeff Ford, Reese Leonard, and Bret Hayden. Though the openers contained a healthy mix of self-deprecation and poking fun at everyday frustrations, the headliner himself fell short in both departments and managed to present himself as misogynistic, transphobic, Islamophobic, racially ignorant, and generally worthy-of-cringe – all within a one hour time span. In hindsight, Landau’s initial shoulders-back-beer-belly-out swagger onto stage should have primed me for the untamable discomfort that was to follow,  a discomfort amplified with each distasteful joke about marginalized communities that was somehow ‘validated’ by waves of  tipsy, white laughter.

I’ll admit it; Landau is not an unfunny comic. During his set’s rare, unproblematic moments, his lackadaisical demeanor actually contributed to the joke’s delivery and drew out some genuine laughs. His fast-paced opening line and commentary about his colorful drug history were humorously original, but beyond those candid pockets, the premises of most of his jokes were rooted in the systematic objectification and demeaning of women and mocking the advancement of societal acceptance for communities like the LGBTQ+. Within minutes of taking the stage, Landau took an inappropriate jab at the Dearborn Muslim community and had the audacity to then improvise with two audience members with South Asian features by insinuating that they were Muslim, and later labelling them Indian. To add even more icing on the cake, Landau scanned the front row for more people of color to continue his racially ignorant bit with, before targeting my East Asian-looking friend. After that extended punchline, Landau’s attempts accelerated downhill: the white male comic found it in his place to objectify Transgender people as hybrid cars, continuously refer to women only in demeaning sexual contexts, all while under the cookie-cutter guise of lauding women for “being so strong” in undergoing menstruation and pregnancy. Oh, and shaming his wife’s post-childbirth vagina in reference to a wigged squirrel.

However it would be fruitless to paint Landau as the only perpetrator of such “comedic” tastelessness – he is but one of many contributors to America’s rampant ‘comedy man’ problem – which plagues the industry from Louis C.K to Richard Pryor and now, Dave Chappelle, with his Netflix special Sticks & Stones. Whilst sitting in the darkened room at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, enshrouded in raucous and affirmative white laughter, I finally realized the twisted nature of today’s American, male-dominated stand-up scene. Comedians such as Landau escape true scrutiny and are enabled to ascend to platforms like Comedy Central, using their privilege and defensive powers of “just wanting to make people laugh” to justify gross jokes all the while eschewing all political correctness as antithesis to ‘free speech’, or the art of stand-up itself.

PREVIEW: Dave Landau

This Friday at 10 pm and Saturday at 7:30 pm, ubiquitously funny stand-up comic Dave Landau will be performing at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase to up the cheer for all your weekend Thanksgiving festivities! In addition to his fresh and relatable takes of finding mirth in everyday occurrences, Landau has a formal background in improv from the infamous Second City Comedy Theatre in Detroit and has made numerous appearances on Comedy Central, HBO, Sirius/XM Radio, and “The Bob and Tom Show”. In addition, Landau finished as a finalist on Season 8 of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and became a fan favorite and 3rd mic on The Artie Lange and Anthony Cumia Radio Show, later renamed The Anthony Cumia Show with Dave Landau.

Tickets may be purchased in advance for $14 here, or $16 at the door!

PREVIEW: Out There: A Performance by art duo Princess

I’m always one for expanding my horizons, especially when it comes to the arts. I have no idea what to expect for this one! Part performance art, part film, Out There approaches a serious subject (mens’ role in combatting misogyny in society) with creativity. Described as having a “science fiction narrative,” the performance is a collaboration by JD Samson, visual artist Jennifer Meridian, and the band TEEN.

The event has free admission, though there is a limit to how many people can occupy the performance room. So, please RSVP via https://www.eventbrite.com/e/out-there-a-performance-by-art-duo-princess-tickets-70631796605.

See you Friday, October 11 at 5 PM at the Stamps Gallery, 201 S Division St!

 

 

 

PREVIEW: Mystic Nights at Zal Gaz Grotto Club

Image result for magic clipart

The world is full of unknowable things, things that exist underneath reality: the supernatural, the magical, the mystic. Some are gifted with the ability to see into this plane of being, but most of us are offered mere glimpses, if any sight at all. Occupied by the ordinary world, we fail to see the extraordinary that lies just beyond our unseeing gaze.

But this Wednesday, March 27 the magician Misha Tuesday will be lifting back the curtain. He will be performing miracles in the form of hypnosis, mind reading, and magic to provide guests with a soul-changing evening. Your very understanding of reality will be tested and torn by the hands of this great illusionist. Perhaps you will be given the sight yourself. Anything can happen when mystery rules the night.

Doors are at 8:00 PM, and the show begins at 8:30, but the kitchen and bar are open beforehand. The experience will be priceless, but tickets are $10 at the door or at http://mishatuesday.wellattended.com.

 

PREVIEW: CatVideoFest 2019

Are you tired of manually scouring the internet for feline entertainment? Do you have an insatiable thirst for the more beloved, graceful, and heavily worshipped four-legged domesticated companions that don’t bark or beg to be walked on the daily?

The annual CatVideoFest, playing this Sunday at the Michigan Theater, may be the purr-fect solution to your cat-video-shortage woes! Be prepared for 70 minutes of an adorable audiovisual experience of a lifetime- back by popular demand, the CatVideoFest is an artistic curation of the world’s most prized, individualistic cat videos- ranging from music videos to animations. Not only is this a beautiful communal experience with fellow cat-lovers, but also a fantastic way to support local shelters and animal organizations, joining them in their battle to mitigate the suffering of cats all around the world. Join us in this gleeful celebration of the beauty and hilarity of our feline friends Sunday, March 10, at 4 pm in the Michigan Theater!

Tickets may be obtained here:  https://secure.michtheater.org/websales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=431337~c76be4f4-22b5-4bed-a89c-7def863b8c53&_ga=2.34390305.1264812886.1552026665-1233648933.1551894674 

 

 

REVIEW: Pls Hire Us

Exam season is a cruelly bittersweet time. It is the blissful end to a long and arduous semester, a promise of a well-deserved break at the other end. During it all, though, the nights spent replacing sleep with study start stacking up, and the days fill with delirium. Personally, as I walked into Studio A for this show, I was rocking barely an hour of sleep in the past 36, as I’d been writing papers and preparing for an exam with such intensity that I was unable to fall asleep after I’d finished. Until my inevitable crash later that night, I would have to accept that I’d need to settle for the next best thing after sleep: laughter.

Unsurprisingly, quite a few other students were in the same boat; the place was packed. There was a list up front like the ones at exclusive clubs in the movies, but only those knew the performers were on it. I walked over to the back of the line. Luckily, I’d come early enough that I was let in before all the chairs had been filled.

As soon as the night of comedy sketches began, all of the day’s jittery exhaustion drained out of me. I was glad to find that the sketches were unrelated to each other, like in Saturday Night Live. Each scene was its own self-contained story, and despite their brevity, characters were developed, and the plot had enough detail to keep it interesting. Although the entire cast performed well, I did have a favorite; Emma Puglia really stood out to me. Her stage presence was amazing, following her even through the digital sketches, and her use of different comedic voices and tones helped her to be an invaluable part of the cast.

I don’t think a single member of the peanut gallery walked out of that room before having let out an embarrassingly ugly guffaw and/or wiped away a few tears from laughing so hard. It takes a truly talented group of people to write, perform, and produce something that can wash away the grime of exhaustion from a room full of students in the middle of their exam season. During that precious, golden time I had in Studio A, I could forget about the oceanography test I had suffered through just hours before, the paper I’d thrown together at 3:00 AM, the Wolverscreams session I’d missed while taking a nap. For that gift, I am so, so grateful.