Brent Butt crashes the sausage party at Comedy MIX anniversary
Age and aging seemed to be on the minds of the 13 comics who blasted through the 10th anniversary Comedy MIX show at the Century Plaza Hotel on October 8. If the theme was appropriate for a birthday celebration, much of the material wasn’t, in a more general sense. “Thirteen comics; all dudes,” said host Graham Clark, in his introduction. “This is your one-stop destination for dick jokes.”
Clark was typically brilliant in his unassuming and these days very bearded way (“He looks like the webmaster for the Hells Angels,” remarked John Beuhler, later in the night), but he was wrong about the dick jokes. Chris James went there during his understated and gently weird 10-minute slot, but only because he wanted to explain the odd technique of resting his mike on the bottom of his chin (that visual should suffice).
To lesser effect, and prompted by his wife’s curiosity about a threesome, Toby Hargrave spent about half of his stage time pondering, “How do you take a dick?” And Kevin Foxx had a bit about Asian porn that probably would have gone better if it wasn’t for the stone-faced and distressingly attractive chick in the front row. She seemed to throw the whammy on a few of the local comedians who gathered for this mostly boisterous two-and-a-half hour blast of relay standup.
But anyway, Foxx was right. “Your people’s porn is a bit rapey,” he told a Japanese member of the audience, adding that he generally finds himself looking for background clues to the girl’s whereabouts whenever he’s watching it. Foxx seemed a bit rattled by a so-so reception to his otherwise fine material, but my own internal laugh-o-meter placed him somewhere in the top five of the night’s performers.
Before doing a great piece on what he called “hapless bigots inadvertently encouraging the groups they hate”—prompted, he said, by the sight of some doofus yelling at a group of Palestinian protesters at the Art Gallery to “go home”—Charlie Demers put his finger on the perhaps equally conspicuous imbalance on the roster (and what everyone was thinking). “We decided to do a show, all white guys, and the black guy and brown guy have to come out together,” he said, referring to Dino Archie and Sunee Dhaliwal—the black guy and the brown guy, respectively—who preceded Demers with a messy if likable two-hander based on words suggested by the audience.
Archie’s self-mocking tale of finding himself attracted to a dude’s ass at a Starbucks in Victoria was the highlight, and it went some ways toward puncturing the straight, white, sausage-party feel of the evening (not that he managed to crack ol’ stoneface in the front row). Interestingly, Simon King’s motor-mouthed attempt to rouse us out of our dreary, middle-class head space and throw off the shackles of oppression felt like being punched in the face by George Carlin’s angry nephew for 10 minutes—even if the sentiments were righteous.
In the end, with targets that included drunk drivers, hipsters, and abortion, Kyle Bottom managed to bring a welcome dose of evil to the night without hating on “twats” or talking about poo. And Ivan Decker’s thoughts on being a useless 27-year-old bachelor who has to “reverse engineer a taco” were pure magic. Decker didn’t hector or insult anybody but himself for his 10 minutes, with the line “Have you ever felt a rodent admit defeat in your hand?” being the one I took home with me and giggled over for the rest of the night.
I know Decker’s age because he told us. Whether it was prompted by this (everybody seemed to mention their age at some point), or it was planned, headliner Brent Butt came out and beefed, “I’ve been listening to guys in their 30s talk about how fuckin’ old they are.” And so began the last, masterful portion of the night, with Butt ruminating on his own mid-life woes, complete with references to Logan’s Run for those of us with an equivalent number of candles on the cake.
Adding, among other things, that he never liked clubbing because it happened too late in the day and they didn’t serve soup, Butt concluded that he’s always been middle-aged. Which might be true. But nature seeks balance, mercifully, and that’s why Brent Butt has always been funny.