Thanks to a hooked up coworker I was able to attend an evening of stand up at the Comedy Cellar last night that happened to also double as a taping for season two of Louis CK’s FX show Louie.
Hosted by Ardie Fuqua, the show included the aforementioned CK, Aziz Ansari, Ted Alexandro, Keith Robinson, and Godfrey. Fuqua did a great job as host, which must be an arduous task on a routine Monday night. Lucky for him this was anything but routine and probably more in line with the crowds the Cellar sees on the weekend (aka packed to capacity and turning away many on the stand by line). He played well off an already excitable crowd.
Godfrey came up and gave a solid B+ performance, but never really finding a groove with the audience. Having seen him a few times before I can definitely say it wasn’t his best night, and he relied on some older bits that have been in his repertoire for years.
CK surprisingly went on next and his introduction brought the house down. Unfortunately for him with the cameras rolling this was the opposite of what he wanted. The scene they happened to be shooting that night was of a stand up set that wasn’t going very well, so he stepped on stage and directed the audience (as director of the show) to give him a lukewarm response. Right away he had unparalleled command over the audience, to a point where it was incredibly impressive he was able to rein everyone in and direct them like a group of extras on set.
He came back on to mild applause and then proceeded to fake bomb. Louie proceeded to “spontaneously” interact with a planted actress in the front row, unintentionally cracking up the crowd when he made the woman do the scene again. Shortly after this he launched into his material but had to stop to tell the crowd that our acting portion of his set was over and it was okay to laugh. And we did. According to those more familiar with his recent stand up, he covered some previous material, only one bit of which I had heard before. He then warned the crowd that during the next comedian they would be shooting him walking through the audience to the bathroom. He then walked off to again a directed mild applause and once he gave the okay that they stopped rolling the crowd went predictably crazy.
Ted Alexandro and Keith Robinson followed. Alexandro played as a good tandem with Louie as he is of a similar age and deals with common themes. His style is determinedly subdued which contrasted nicely with the rest of the energetic night. Robinson came next and did a fine job but didn’t stand out in any other way than making the crowd uncomfortable by hitting on a large chested girl in the front row.
Aziz closed out the show, using his time to work out newer bits - even alluding to the fact that he would be checking his notebook in between chunks because he was only being paid “like twenty dollars.” They say comedians either say funny things or say things funny. Aziz has a great blend of both but even when his material is rudimentary his delivery is always hilarious. The new stuff is fantastic and you could tell the crowd was super pumped for him to just be in the room. Even the guy that called out for him to do “Rodney” (he meant Raaaaaaaandy) at the end of his set.
All in all it was a great experience, and felt like an insider/exclusive event. Glad I got to be a part of it, and can’t wait for everyone to see the new season of Louie.
Random side notes: They were shooting the ABC 60s set pilot Pan-Am on the corner of MacDougal and 3rd last night. And if you were wondering Louie was being shot by one camera guy (as far as I could tell) with a handheld Red rig.
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- natface said: that guy that called out “rodney” was part of a random group i was put with last night. he was weird. i had to go to the bathroom after louis’s set and i was not allowed by the bouncer to get up because of the scene they were filming…kind of fun.
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