Things get downright dirty at Just for Laughs Presents: The Nasty Show
At the River Rock Casino Resort on Friday, June 10
When Jeffrey Ross, aka the Roastmaster General, introduced the four-piece combo backing him up at the Nasty Show, he joked, “Great band. Woulda been quicker to serve the audience NyQuil.”
That was my feeling about this soporific show in general. Sure, there were some solid laughs—even in an otherwise dull show you’re guaranteed a chuckle or two along the way, such is the beauty of comedy—but the evening was strangely lacking in energy.
Ross had the best lines of the night, which you’d expect from his years crafting solid punchlines (emphasis on “punch”) directed at celebrities on the Comedy Central Roasts. His delivery, however, was detached at best. His jokes aimed at Vancouver and Canada were hilarious on paper but he read them out monotonously from his iPhone like he was seeing them for the first time. “I love Canadian porn,” one went. “I just watched 2 Girls 1 Stanley Cup.”
One too-short segment of the night was Ross speed-roasting eight members of the audience who dared get on-stage to be publicly humiliated. Half the fun, granted, is the element of shock that someone is speaking the unspeakable. But Ross does it well. His M.O. is the deftly executed back-handed compliment. To a gorgeous blond from the crowd, he said, “Normally I don’t like when one tit is bigger than the other but it totally works for you.” Oh, yes he did.
The other comics lived up to the nastiness but fell short in other areas. Ari Shaffer joked about premature ejaculation, anal sex, and shitting himself in Australia but not to any great payoffs. It would have been a decent club set but didn’t hold up to the expectations one has in a soft-seat theatre, where you assume a comedian will use his A material.
Thea Vidale had the appropriate presence for the venue but was all attitude. The jokes were almost nonexistent. Her big closer was teaching women how to give a great blowjob. She demonstrated it by licking the mike and disgustingly deep-throating the large silver head. This wasn’t her own personal microphone, understand; it was the communal one held and spat on by all the other comics. Yech.
Closing out the show was Big Jay Oakerson, who sounds uncannily like Dave Attell. He made use of the big stage by doing his whole act sitting on a stool talking about shaving assholes and coming on his own face, and telling a long, intermittently amusing story about an interracial, interspecies gang bang.
It’s all well and good that the comics can be as nasty as they wanna be, but the inherent problem with such a show is that after a short while one becomes inured to the sick and twisted, and the only remedy is some skillfully administered writing executed with a modicum of pizzazz. Or just lower our expectations and call it the Drowsy Show.