Ron Funches has a joke about how when he and his wife fight, it's like superheroes fighting—"and Superman has to change his Facebook password, because Batman is a very good detective." I've heard the bit a few times, but it's never seemed more appropriate than when he told it last night at Floating World Comics, in front of a crowd of 25 or so packed a little awkwardly among shelves and spinner racks of comics.
The mic was busted, there were no chairs, and perhaps most distressingly there was no booze, but despite all that Jen Allen's new showcase Punch! Kick! Funny! got off to a fine start last night. Promised headliner Ian Karmel didn't materialize—he double booked with a commercial he's filming in California, faaaancy—but he recorded a brief apology to the crowd, which Allen played at the beginning of the show. Turns out Karmel really wasn't too missed, though: Allen is a likable host, and lesser-known local comics Jessie McCoy and Anthony Lopez both delivered solid sets. I was impressed by McCoy's grouchy-girl persona and controlled delivery, while the affable Lopez memorably describes himself as a "half Mexican comic who also has a speech impediment," and mined some big laughs out of the fact that he has a brother whose name is also Anthony Lopez. And while Ron Funches immediately offered the disclaimer that he was very, very high, he smartly made the crowd sit on the floor during his set (he even shamed Floating World proprietor Jason Leivian into sitting), which banished some of the awkwardness still lingering in the room and cleared the way for a really enjoyable set. I've heard some of Funches' jokes a kabillion times, so it was fun to see him delve more into crowd work last night, including a fake quiz show that invited two audience members onstage to discuss the relative shittiness of things like bad gifts and accidental animal murdering.
It wound up being a better evening than I expected when I walked in and saw how the space was being used—namely, that the "stage" was just a clearing between some shelves with terrible sightlines to the rest of the room. Standing five feet away from someone who is holding a mic and talking at you is awkward as an audience member, and I gotta imagine it's awkward for performers, too. That being said, I want to see more shows like this (and I want to see a microphone that works reliably, and maybe a folding chair or two). There seems to be a natural sympathy between fans and creators of comedy and comics—LA's fantastic Meltdown Comics, a comic book store with a comedy venue in the back, is a great example. It made me mildly furious a few years ago when the Stumptown Comics fest and the Bridgetown Comedy festival were on the same weekend and no one planned a single crossover event; I'm excited to see events that are starting to tap into that intersection.