Friday night at the Charleston Comedy Festival was all about awkward encounters — and we mean that in the best possible way. We started out the night at the historic Footlight Players Theatre for Kevin Allison's RISK featuring Michael Ian Black. Some people seem confused, so let's clarify: This is not a Michael Ian Black stand up show. It's a show where various people tell various embarrassing stories, and Black is just one of those people.
Kevin Allison, the host and perhaps most engaging storyteller of the night, talked about a seriously strange run-in at a gay club. Adam Newman, who's also performing stand up at the fest, told a cringe-worthy story of online dating gone really awry. Vic Henley (another festival stand up performer) told us abut his stint as a bookie, and local gal Shon Kennedy put it all out there with the tale of a mortifying gyno visit. Michael Ian Black wrapped things up with a well-told but not-too-shocking story of being in a band in high school. Before the lights went up, Kennedy took the stage one last time to sing an a cappella version of "Summertime." Did it fit the show? Not really — she admitted she really just wanted to take advantage of the acoustics in the theater. Was it risky? Yes, and the crowd seemed to enjoy it.
We hear tomorrow night's show will feature all-new stories, including contributions from local comic David Appleton and both Reformed Whores (one of whom told us at the L'After Party that her monologue could have something to do with masturbation).
Up the street at PURE, The Pushers did what they do best, despite a small turnout: They made us feel supremely uncomfortable while cracking us up. One scene involving an armless butler giving his sweaty employer a rub-down was particularly awkward. And awesome. After that, The Prom, a young UCB team, treated us to some smart improv, and then Canada's Two Weird Ladies, this week's City Paper cover girls, got a little sketchy.
At the L'After Party at Mellow, we rubbed elbows with festival performers like the Prom kids, who were already asking about a good brunch spot; the Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting gals, whose Saturday show already sold out; and the Pushers, who, as usual, were doing a lot of shots. Here's hoping they don't feel too terrible this morning.
Tonight's the final night of Comedy Fest, so get your tickets here. The L'After Party is at Butcher and Bee, and if last year's bash is any indication, it's sure to be a good one.