Monday, February 4, 2008

Michael Showalter in the New York Times

Whereas stand-up storytellers like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock tear through tightly scripted bits like comedic machines, Mr. Showalter’s routine is more akin to a college lecture (he does teach graduate screenwriting workshops at N.Y.U.) spliced together with music, pictures and jokes. In the course of a set he may play Train and Sufjan Stevens songs from his iPod’s “guilty pleasures” playlist; sing about mountaineering, erotica or adventure journalism; or even narrate news clippings with the aid of a PowerPoint slide show. After a year and a half on the road he had perfected enough material for his debut album, "Sandwiches and Cats," released late last year on the JDub label.

This is a pretty good description of a Michael Showalter live show. When he performed last year with Michael Ian Black at The TLA, he seemed to be making up a lot of it on the spot. Unlike most comics, his material wasn't carefully honed bits worked over and over again. Rather, he could get a laugh from just his word choice. And besides "Requip", it was all material that wasn't on his album.

And bonus points for the Billy Joel homage!

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