Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Comedy at The M Bar

I'd have a link to the website for Hollywood's The M Bar right here at the top of this item, but their website isn't working. This makes sense, as the entire attitude of The M seems to say, "Hey, you've found the place! Cool! Now kindly fuck off!"

It's a tiny little club in an unassuming corner of a strip mall on Vine. With no sign. I lived right down the street from this place (seriously!) for over a year and had no idea where it was. I knew there was some cool bar and club called The M Bar that people went to, and I knew it was in Hollywood, but I couldn't have found it for you with a detailed map, a compass and a team of sherpas.

And inside, there are so many tables in such a small place, traditional walking becomes impossible. You're forced to contort your body like a goddman member of Cirque de Soleil just to get to a table, and once there, you need the jaws of life and some sort of a crane just to get you back out and on your feet.

My friend Cory and I made it down there last night for their weekly comedy showcase, and of course, our names weren't on the list. So they did us the distinct honor of actually seating us, albeit in the corner of the room actually behind the stage. So, while the audience was delighting to the antics of the various musicians and comedians that night, they were also treated to the sight of me, eating a pizza, just to the left and back of the performer.

But none of this mattered once the show began. It was an entirely solid line-up of performers, from host Jonah Raye, who integrated video skits and musical numbers into his act, on down the line. Brendon Small did a truly bizarre skit in which he played Bruce Vilanch giving birth to a demon baby. Musical act Parliament Farm, a so-so throwback to 70's garage rock, were subjected to all manner of teasing from the various comics about their silly name. And the four main comics on the bill - Jimmy Pardo, Andy Kindler, Todd Barry and David Cross - all had, to my mind, very funny, loose sets.

I love going to small comedy clubs like M or The Largo. When you see a comic on television or at a touristy, Sunset Blvd. trap like The Laugh Factory, they're doing the old reliable material that always works. It's funny, sure, particularly if the comic has terrific material like David Cross. But I've seen that stuff a million times. I like seeing these guys with a crowd full of other comics and jaded LA types. They're just trying stuff out, and it doesn't matter whether it bombs or not, cause the audience already knows these guys are funny.

So you get more improvisational stuff, like Jimmy Pardo mocking a bald guy in the audience for not laughing, and complaining about masturbating with icy hot accidentally. And you get experimental routines, like David Cross taking the stage as presto-currencitationist Hoyle Appleshaker, the fourth in a long line of historical Appleshakers.

When I lived in that nieghborhood of Hollywood, I would often go to the Improv Olympic West on Hollywood Blvd. with friends as well. They used to have a Sunday night show hosted by Jeff Garlin called the combo platter, in which very funny comics (like Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman and Bob Odenkirk) would riff on subjects suggested by audience members. I remember Garlin having to do a 5 minute set on Corn Nuts and just knocking it out of the park. And if you've never heard Sarah Silverman describe a disasterous bikini wax, you just haven't heard stand-up comedy.

So, definitely check out Tuesday night's at The M Bar, if you can get a reservation. I understand it fills up pretty quickly. And you might want to bring a shoehorn, a machete and a miner's helmet, just in case you need to head to the bathroom during the show.


sieger said...

hey lon,
I've spent many nights watching you eat pizza and it was far more entertaining then most comedy clubs.

Lons' Mom said...

Sieger beat me to it, but I also enjoy watching you eat pizza and have more often than not, paid to see it! I can't believe that after reading the entire article, Sieger and I both thought to comment on the same line.