Suffice it to say, I have a man crush on Zach Galifianakis. So much so in fact, that when he came on stage last Saturday night at the Vic Theatre and asked 'How many of you nerds are going to write about this on your fucking blogs?', my wife gave me a knowing and painful elbow to the ribs.
Maybe it's the beard. For a long time I have harbored secret desires to grow mass amounts of facial hair. I feel that the amount of facial hair one has is in direct correlation with how creative and interesting you are. Alas, God hates me and has punished me with a glaring lack of testosterone, thus my 'fat Jim Morrison' phase will seemingly never come to pass. Rubbing your hairless chin never looks as cool as thoughtfully stroking your beard.
But I digress. Back to the review at hand. Zach's comedy is hard to define, even harder to review. The timing, droll delivery and striking visual of a fat man with a beard certainly can't be duplicated by me sitting here pounding the keyboard like a drunk monkey. Thus, I would be best served to just tell you that the show was 'pants poopin' good' and call it a day, but instead I will ramble on incoherently.
The Blue Collar Comedy Tour this was not. I suppose you could use the word 'alternative comedy', though that sounds highly pretentious. But again, given that the t-shirts being sold in the lobby had a painted portrait of Zach's face with the word 'Pretentious' printed underneath, I suppose that label is perfectly fitting. Zach is the Arcade Fire to Dane Cook's Nickelback.
Taking our seats in the balcony, a lukewarm plastic cup of Bud in each hand, I was giddy like conventioneer at the Donald Trump Learning Annex. Opening up for Zach was Middle Eastern comic and local Chicago guy Kumail Nanjiani, who eschewed any Middle Eastern cliches in favor of a set filled with references to Transformers, horror movies and cell phones. Funny enough. A hearty applause ensued.
He then introduced Zach, who came on stage with a bottle of wine, thanking Kumail and commenting, "He speaks enemy". He stopped to pour himself a glass at the piano and in his typical droll tone announced, "Please don't take my photograph. I'm about as photogenic as Terry Schiavo." Ah yes, the fun was just getting started.
His set alternated between the typical 'guy in front of a mic stand', to him sitting at the piano waxing poetic, with a detour into the crowd for a little face time improv with the locals. His impressions included such characters as The Pretentious Illiterate and Five Year Old With a Beard. Good stuff, about on par with my Alf impression, which consists only of the phrase, "Hey Willy."
Before I knew it my plastic cups had runeth dry and my face hurt from laughing at lines like, "I wear a lot of Axe Body Spray but I live in a black neighborhood and it's called Ask Body Spray...and if you didn't laugh at that joke, you're not a racist."
With a finale that included Zach dressed as Annie mouthing 'The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow' and ripping on Dane Cook, how can you go wrong?
His DVD, "Live at the Purple Onion" is enjoyable enough to Netflix but certainly isn't his best work. You're best served cobbling things together from his website, clips like this on YouTube, a bit part in Comedians of Comedy and if you're lucky, late-night reruns of his Comedy Central Presents Special. And of course, Out Cold.
Meanwhile, I'm going to go rub Propecia on my face and throw on an ironic t-shirt. I'm late for my poetry slam.