The Best St. Louis Comedy Shows: April 2014
If you're a fan of Louie, you may recognize Stanhope as Eddie Mack, the long-lost comedian friend of Louis CK whose commitment to the life of a standup comic had finally reached its dejected end. But chances are, if you're watching Louie, it's not your first encounter with the standup comic who has packed the Firebird wall-to-wall on every stop in St. Louis for the last, five years or so.
It's been about a year since Stanhope made his way back to town. The first time I saw Stanhope, he walked on stage, took a swig out of his Miller Lite and just as he set it down some guy extended his Budweiser and said, "Drink a St. Louis beer, man." Stanhope laughed, pointed right at him and replied "Yeah, cuz they give a fuck about you." Insulting a city's landmark is no way to start a set -- unless of course you hold nothing sacred, which just so happens to be the Stanhope way. His humor is uncivil, tasteless and begrudgingly authentic. Curt honesty and brash opinions are a staple in every performance. It's challenging material, and certainly not for everyone, but Stanhope may be one of the most genuine and intuitive voices in the game.
For those of you who have stumbled onto the comedy side of the RFT Music blog and are wondering why it belongs here... it doesn't. There's just nowhere else to put it, but just enough people care that we have to put it somewhere. And I'd like to use Mr. Aziz Ansari -- who just so happens to be making his stop in St. Louis at the Fox Theatre on April 24 -- to explain why music and comedy are not the same party. The key difference, as Ansari points out: "On a rock tour, some dude's fuckin' a burrito like, 'Yeah man, I gotta get the smell of all these other these vaginas off my dick.' Comedy tour it's like, 'Ahh-ahhh, I'm so alone.'"
A typical comedy open mic allows for quick sets, usually anywhere from four to six minutes, so there's not much room for a comedian to breathe and work through new material. But a handful of comedians have discovered that music open mics not only have longer set times, but a change in programming is certainly not opposed.
The weekly Monday open mic at the Gramophone is one of those music open mics that encourages comics to take to the stage. A few of the comics have even gone off the grid and teamed up with the musicians, trying out sets with a rhythm behind them or simply to have some fun and take a seat at the drum set so they can rim-shot themselves.
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