Unless you're a superfan, you may know Jon Benjamin better for his voice than for his face. He’s the voice of Sterling Archer on the awesome FX animated series Archer. He’s the voice of Bob Belcher on Fox’s Bob’s Burgers. And he’s been a voice in pretty much every weirdly funny animated series that got canceled just as soon as you decided to commit to it.
And speaking of canceled, his Comedy Series Jon Benjamin Has a Van just got canceled, too. “We wrote some episodes for the second season,” he says, “but then we were summarily dispatched.”
So in the meantime, Jon Benjamin has some voice work and a tour. That tour is coming to Portland on Friday night, at the Bagdad at 9. Not quite stand-up, not quite sketch, the show “will vary from night to night,” he says. “It’ll be fun. It’s Leo Allen, my co-creator (for Jon Benjamin Has a Van), and Nathan Fielder, who was in the show, and me. We’ll show some videos, stuff we shot for the show that didn’t make it on, and a couple of surprises.”
There could also be a giveaway. “Maybe in Portland we’ll give away a T-shirt. I’m definitely willing to give away a shirt that says, ‘Your mouth would look better with my dick in it.’" (It’s from the show, a sketch about a guy who comes up with terrible T-shirt slogans.)
Benjamin’s humor isn’t for everyone. Often described as “anti-comedy,” it can be abrasive and succeeds most when it makes everyone involved uncomfortable. But for the people who get it and like it, there's not a lot of distance between "like" and "superfan." Asked how he himself would describe his comedy, he answers, “It’s delicious. … I don’t know. I don’t do stand-up, or traditional jokes. I don’t make observations about the world. I’m really in a bubble. I might be best described as disappointing.”
Time Out New York recently ranked the top 50 funny people living in that city, and Benjamin came in 15th out of 50. Fellow comedians Jon Glaser and Todd Barry came in at 31 and 13, respectively. “I think it’s just demeaning,” Benjamin says. “I’m at least two funnier than Todd Barry, and 12 less funny than Jon Glaser.”
It’s hard to say what’s in store for us Friday night at the Bagdad, but odds are it’ll be alternately hilarious, uncomfortable, shocking, and weird. If that works for you, get your tickets here. Anyone who comes to the show, Benjamin says, “I’ll totally kiss their ass. Not like literally. I’ll meet you, and tell you things you want to hear. I’m good at that. It’s called lying.”