For a minute last night it didn't look like I was going to get into the DadBoner showcase at the Mt. Tabor. After busing back down to Hawthorne directly after Funny Over Everything at the Hollywood, I arrived to find the venue choked with people standing in line. Two lines, actually, that everyone seemed to think served the same purpose until a volunteer informed my line that our line was illegitimate and that we would all have to go to the end of the other line—which was all the way around the block—despite the time we'd already invested in our bogus line. The outlook was grim. Guy Branum was whining on the sidewalk about not being able to get into the Bar of the Gods or Mt. Tabor, and how was he going to get down to the Hawthorne Theater and back in time for the open mic? The dude standing next to me helpfully suggested the bus, to which Branum said, "I live in L.A. We are not allowed to take the bus." (I have a love/hate thing with Branum. At last year's festival we got into kind of a Twitter fight over a joke he made about Portland girls' shoes which I think involved me defensively twatting him a picture of my Dries Van Noten ankle boots.)
Luckily the show started late (and the right volunteer noticed my media wristband) and DadBoners were achieved. Interestingly, the packed venue experienced gradual attrition over the course of the show despite the fact that everyone pretty much nailed their sets. I've seen Ian Karmel talk about Plaid Pantry before but he was in especially good spirits last night and the crowd was feeling it. It helped that Peter Serafinowicz was standing right behind me with his lovely British-accented laughter.
All the sets were tinged with a DadBoner-appropriate air of self deprication/pride in being a degenerate slob, and Mike Burns is the grown-up version of the dirty kid down the block who, like, plays with dry ice and shit. Mike Bridenstine was a brawnier version of that persona and pretty much killed it, as did Todd Glass, who—perhaps on edge about hecklers after Thursday night at the Tanker—was clearly appreciative to be playing to a crowd of great sports. And Matt Braunger! God, that guy is a fucking professional. Just technically speaking, as a performer, he is proficient as hell.
The show was also framed around readings from Burns' upcoming book Power Moves: Livin' the American Dream, USA Style. It didn't seem like anyone had read their passages in preparation, so all the performers were kind of cracking up as they read, which sometimes worked and sometimes seemed like a good time to seek out another glass of $4 box wine. It's hard to read unfamiliar material out loud—however funny it is—while being effectively expressive, and most people inevitably fall into a slightly monotonous timbre, so there was a little bit of that happening.
The takeaway: see Braunger if you haven't already, or even if you have. Do not fuck with Glass. Just let him do his thing and good luck to you if you get in his way. I know I was laughing my ass off during Bridenstine's set but it's hard to remember what he was actually talking about, which is weirdly, I think, a good sign. I want a do-over with him as well.
I fucking love the energy of this festival. Have you ever tried to watch live comedy with someone who doesn't enjoy at least a little bit of awkwardness? These rooms are filled with hundreds of people who are possessed with the exact opposite of that boner-killing attitude.