Columbian laugh lord Aziz Ansari sent out a tweet on Monday afternoon about dropping in on the stand-up night at the Upper Deck Tavern. Within a few hours, word spread and fans made plans to mob the place.
The Upper Deck does stand-up on a regular basis, but probably doesn't see the kind of crowd that packed the bar on Monday night. It was wall to wall. Besides the usual mix of UDT hipsters, local comics showed up in force to snag a spot in the line-up before Aziz. Spotted in the crowd were a lot of contestants from Saturday night's stand-up competition at Theatre 99.
A good chunk of the crowd had apparently never been to the Upper Deck before and seemed bewildered by the standing-room-only/no table service layout.
Some of the warm-up comics weren't exactly pros, and the material varied from pretty damn funny to good enough for drunk folks. Plenty of them were very funny and they all deserve credit for squeezing into the corner/stage and facing the unusually large crowd. At times, it looked less like a comedy show and more like a pack of hyenas cornering an antelope.
Ansari took the stage right at midnight and the crowd was ready for him. For people used to seeing him on more scripted shows like Human Giant or Parks and Recreation, the stand-up might have been a surprise. He's a stage veteran though, and knew how to connect with the whole audience. He took advantage of the warm reception and stretched out a nearly half-hour set. There were lots of phone and texting jokes, and he checked his own phone fairly often. He would riff on things people were sending him. Perhaps we witnessed the birth of interactive stand-up?
After the show, Ansari hung around for a while and was generally cool about people indulging in a little celebrity excitement. If you missed the show, he'll be back for a full performance soon. Check @azizansari on Twitter for more info.