A funny way to end this great festival
On May 30 and 31, Vulture teamed up with New York Magazine for the 2nd annual Vulture Festival, a celebration of pop culture featuring the most popular television, music, film, and much more. This two day festival had everything from live performances, advanced screenings, panels, comedy, and more. On Sunday May 31, the Vulture Festival came to a close with the last show of the festival being a fun Comedy Night hosted at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Some of the comedians featured in this show are some of the best comedians to date, each having a very prestigious work background with writing, acting, or performing on stage. The comedians who performed at this show were Colin Quinn, Brett Gelman, Cyrus Ghahremani, Chris Gethard, Max Silverstri, Jared Logan, Phoebe Robinson, Kevin Barnett, Jermaine Fowler, Wyatt Cenac, and Michelle Wolf.
First to take the stage was the host of the night, Phoebe Robinson, who has appeared on Late Night with Seth Myers as well as appearing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Phoebe did a great job at hosting this event by coming on the stage and warming up the crowd. She eased the audience in with her jokes, starting off with some of her tamer jokes like how she has been dating her boyfriend for so long she is starting to get lazier during sex, and then she went more into hot topic comedy such as race relations in the United States and how white people have it so much easier. One fun thing that she mentioned was that her niece is half black and half white but looked white and she hated her niece for looking white because now her niece will start off her life better and have more privilege as compared to Phoebe. Phoebe was a great start to the show. She was warm and inviting but also was able to deliver her jokes well enough to get the crowd laughing and eased in for a night of fun
Next to perform was Michelle Wolf who was recently named by Time Out Magazine as one of “The Top 10 Funniest Women in NYC.” What was great about Michelle’s performance was how she was laid back and very relaxed with her performance. She talked about a lot of topics such as being a feminist and how men are gross. She read the crowd well and was able to effectively vibe off of the crowd’s energy which made her a lot of fun to watch. One her of her funniest jokes was the differences in why white people like to take walks when compared to black people. To her, white people like to take long walks to help discover themselves. She used recent book and movie Wild as an example. Black people, according to her, take walks to get the right to vote and to be treated like actual people.
Up next was Chris Gethard, the writer, actor, and producer of his newest variety talk show called The Chris Gethard Show. He has also made appearances on popular shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Parks and Recreation. He started his set with asking the crowd if they have ever thought of their own personalized strategy for when the apocalypse happens. Apparently, he is the only person who has thought of that seeing as nobody from the audience raised their hands. He then shared how he asked his dad, an environmental scientist, this question to which his dad just said ‘Follow the rats!’ This strategy seems like a pretty solid strategy according to Gethard, until the rats go into a small hole that only rats can fit. Then Gethard will immediately die. Gethard did a great job in telling us a variety of stories from his past to how he grew up in the rough part of New Jersey to the times where he drank so much that he blacked out. His ability to communicate his stories to the audience and to paint a nice picture is why he has found a lot of success in his career and also why he had a great performance this night.
Up on stage next were Brett Gelman and Cyrus Ghahremani, otherwise known as “Gelmania.” Their performance was unlike any other because what Gelmania decided to do for this show is a one man performance of an original play Gelman wrote called A Chicago Street. This was a complete hit, one with the plot of this play, and two being how this play was presented. This original play is about two men talking to each other in the dead of night and one man trying to purchase the other man’s services. The second man is a prostitute. This play just went off of the first man, seeming to be a very very creepy old man, asking various weird and sexual questions to the second man, a bubbly yet burly seeming prostitute. What really made this set funny was how Cyrus was able to alter Brett’s voice to make the first man have a voice that sounded very raspy, creepy, and a voice that you would never hope to hear in your life. The second man’s voice, also played by Gelman, had a deep but bubbly sound to it. The back and forth between the two voice’s and the dialogue within the play had the crowd bursting with laughter and giggles and this alternative comedic performance was a big success for Gelmania.
After that performance, comedian Wyatt Cenac came to the stage and talked about how he loves soccer but yet the rest of the United States hates soccer with a passion. He talks about this and then talked about how much Americans love hockey but how hockey is such a brutal and violent sport and he just doesn’t understand the hype in it. What was fun about Cenac’s performance were not only the stories that he told but the way he observed these events and found the humor in these situations. This, sort of, introspective look into everyday situations and finding the comedy in it is what makes Cenac a great comic and great performer.
Jared Logan came on next and he started his set with how him being a comedian was his job and that his job was better than everybody else’s. He then proved his point by saying the most lewd, and obscene things to the crowd and then dared everybody to go into work and say the same things and see what happens. Logan still had his job as a comedian. Anyone who repeated those things at their work has either gotten fired or had a very uncomfortable HR meeting. Logan was very enthusiastic and full of energy, almost yelling at the crowd, but in a good way. Granted, getting yelled at during a comedy show doesn’t seem like a good time, but Logan made yelling fun and enjoyable. His views on life were very unique but at the same time had the crowd laughing at all moments. What he did so well was that he had the crowd at the edge of their seats only with anticipation of the next outrageously funny thing he had to say next.
Max Silvestri came up next and he had a lot of things to say about being over 30 and having to be an adult. According to Silvestri, the true sign that you are now an adult is when you have to buy furniture. He described the struggle of figuring out what type of furniture to buy and how terrible it is to be an adult and to have responsibilities but to also have no energy whatsoever to do all the important things that an adult needs to do. Silvestri had a great set for this show and the crowd responded really well to his material.
Jermaine Fowler, actor on the TV show Friends of the People, took the stage and he talked about a lot of different things such as what it was like to be black but to not act black enough to impress his other black friends. One funny piece that he had said was how he was playing this Tony Hawk video game when he was a kid and how one day his dad decided to play the game with him as a bonding experience. When Jermaine beat his dad at the game his dad retorted with something along the lines of ‘You’re just a white boy,’ to which he has then on considered himself to be an Oreo, black on the outside, white and delicious on the inside. Jermaine had a great energy to him and paired with his jokes, he had the crowd laughing the whole time.
Kevin Barnett, actor alongside Jermaine on Friends of the People, came up after and talked about hazing his white coworker, comedian Josh Rabinowitz, on the show they both work on. Josh logged into his email on Jermaine’s email and forgot to log off. Jermaine then sends Kevin one of the most racist emails ever from Josh’s email. Kevin immediately knew that it was Jermaine who sent the email and not Josh but decided to make Josh feel bad by pretending that he thought Josh sent it. Long story short, he made Josh cry at some point and that whole story sat well with the audience. Simply enough, if someone from the audience didn’t laugh at the premise of a black man making a white man feel bad, then that audience member can be considered a racist, something that worked well in Kevin’s favor. Overall, Kevin’s demeanor and stories made the crowd laugh a lot and his set was on point.
The last comic to take the stage was Colin Quinn. Being a native New Yorker, Quinn had a lot to say about the modern day New York. He told stories about how dangerous New York used to be when he grew up and how you had to be a lot tougher to survive. Basically, his whole set was one big, loud, but funny rant. He gave a lot of insight about what it was like being a New Yorker back in his day and no matter what he said he was able to make the crowd laugh with his big rant.