Published Jul 30, 2017As time goes on, the line between what's considered alternative comedy and what isn't has been completely blurred. In the '90s, alternative comedy was a burgeoning movement in the U.S., but now a good portion of what was considered alternative has been wholeheartedly co-opted by the mainstream. Fortunately, Andy Kindler is still on the farthest edge of the genre, firmly representing what it means to be a true alt comic. Happily correlating Kathy Griffin's downfall with the day that she blocked him on Twitter, and making people laugh with intentionally off-kilter punch lines like "There was Jesus, Moses, and um, a third religious figure," Kindler was the perfect host for this alternative showcase.
Though the lineup included some acts with undeniably alternative sensibilities like Kate Berlant, not all of the comedians strictly fit the definition. Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher fit nicely in the category of comedians with alternative material that have made it in the mainstream, and Sam Jay had an underrepresented perspective as a queer black woman that historically has been more supported in alternative rooms than in mainstream clubs. On the other hand, Charlie Demers was entertaining but not unique, and Annie Lederman's set was broadly appealing, like a road comic's material, as opposed to unusual and risky like an alt comic's should be.
Having said that, the range of the comics' talent was completely unrelated to how well they actually fit the theme of the show. Leggero's crowd work, where she asked people to tell stories about men jerking off in public, was comically crude and cute at the same time, and her husband Kasher was equally funny with his observations about growing up with a fiercely feminist and openly sexual deaf mother.
Additionally, Kindler was very funny throughout the night, and Sam Jay was also pretty amusing. Jay playing devil's advocate for white men in America was as original as it was funny, and her laid back delivery skilfully kept the audience at ease in the somewhat edgy territory. Comparatively, Kate Berlant, Charlie Demers, and Annie Lederman weren't quite as brilliant. Nonetheless, the three comics who performed in the last half of the show were all still consistent enough that the show didn't feel anticlimactic.