Trey, Ted, Tig, and Kenny got big laughs on Saturday (Jan. 23) during the second night of the Charleston Comedy Festival's Stand Up Inferno/Stand Up Showdown double-feature at the Music Farm. The venue's seating filled up with giddy locals for both the early and late sets.
At 8:30 p.m., Austin-bred comic Trey Galyon hit the stage with a slacker-dude grin to kick off the Stand Up Inferno. Now based in a blue-collar neighborhood in Brooklyn (where he's "judged by hipsters from the hipster Mecca neighborhood down the block"), Galyon spend most of his childhood among Texas Baptists ("the Corleones of the Judgement world") and stoner pals who ate all his peanut butter and drank all his Jäger. He made fun of former prez G.W. Bush's bloody hands, evil green-eyed girls, his authentic poor-man wardrobe, Dane Cook, and Kellogg's (for dumping Michael Phelps, who "actually showed good judgement" in bongware).
Native New Yorker Ted Alexandro, the man with best five o'clock shadow of the CCF, closed the show with a smooth set of personal observations and assertions, covering everything from religion (admiration for Jesus' impressive abs), education (he endured five years of teaching the three notes of "Hot Cross Buns" to elementary kids, many of whom regularly sat for class photos in twisted, contorted poses), politics (he referred to President Obama's two daughters, "Rudy and Vanessa"), physical fitness (he can't relate to the journal entries of gym gorillas), and illegal dick play (he admitted to getting busted on Bourbon Street and heading into jail with a walk that looked like Shakira-meets-Charlie Chaplin). By the set's end, he and his audience had rewritten Charleston's official motto as, "It's not that bad." Funny stuff.
At 10 p.m., the room filled up with a fresh crowd for Stand Up Showdown, which was more of a friendly tag-team session between comedians Tig Notaro and former Charlestonian Kenny Zimlinghaus (a.k.a. Kenny Z).
Wrapped in a unglamorous down jacket and retro glam-rock haircut (think The Runaways), Notaro started her set with a dead-pan, stone-faced style. She shared a few embarrassing stories about life in L.A. (including a pedestrian's comments on her "little titties"), denied the charges that she's a "gynecologist" comic (then cracked a great gynecologist joke), and confirmed the fact the molesters can be annoying in English or in Spanish. After taking detour during a lengthy-but-amusing exchange with a girl in the front row concerning what to yell if confronted by a potential rapist (Tig argued for yelling the traditional "Rape!" but the girl insisted that "Fire!" was the new way), she veered back to her closing bits on the impossible tasks of ever impressing Shania Twain with anything or connecting with Taylor Dayne via repetitive/obsessive compliments.
Kenny Z's material bounced to a less philosophical rhythm, as he described his own colorful, New York stories of humiliation, frustration, and masturbation. Kenny has a knack for delivering toilet humor with an air of little-kid charm and innocence. He can gross out without being too gross; as with his fascination with sneezing and farting simultaneously, or the bizarre results of manscaping in the genital area (he assertion that shaved balls resemble the feel of dolphin skin was pretty original and weird). His knock-kneed imitation of an childhood friend's crazy dick-tuck dance got huge laughs, too. It seems Z's loony antics from the old Storm & Kenny Show with Stupid Mike (on the late 96 Wave) have evolved into a more sophisticated mix of weirdo observation humor. It was great to watch what, hopefully, is one of his many homecoming sets.