Sketch & Solo Performances
Film & TV
The Jester Interviews
Ubiquitous pop-culture comic highlights Paul F. Tompkins’ monthly 92Y
Catching up with the ongoing “Comedy Below Canal” series at 92Y Tribeca
on April 23, found a sharp headlining set by Christian Finnegan that was
less pop-culture obsessed and more personal than his past work.
Even a highlight of Finnegan’s performance, a long discourse on the
reality of “Happy Days” if you really look at it, came off as less
pop-cultural than its subject. Finnegan also has made his material a
little more personal since his “Two For Flinching” CD (nearly three
years ago -- see review, 12/3/06), as
in a piece about how he looks too young and unmanly.
Finnegan’s set was just about 15 minutes, but deservingly was the last
full set of the show -- other than a skit featuring host Paul F.
Tompkins and all the performers, including musical guest Ted Leo, doing
a send-up of Donovan’s “Atlantis.” Finnegan himself added to the fun of
this, wearing an exaggerated spacey hippie expression as he shook a
tambourine in the background.
Tompkins, without his usual co-host, Janeane Garofalo (they take the
reins of the show together once a month), had a lot of fun between the
other comedians, deconstructing an unbelievably non-committal New York
Times preview of this very show. And in keeping with the more
experimental nature of these 92Y Tribeca shows, comedian John Roberts
did a set in character as “Paulie P.,” a Long Island comic with
bizarrely unfunny jokes, all of which seemed to end with non-punchline/non-sequitur
punch lines. In a smaller spot, Lisa deLarios did strike a few chords,
namely imitating a typical horror movie girl-running-from-serial killer
scene, and in a twisted bit about disabled pets.
On this most recent look, the “Comedy Below Canal” show (last
reviewed 1/11/09) definitely continues to be a forum for
creativity and taking chances within the stand-up genre.
Christian Finnegan’s set in this show was a preview of his upcoming
DVD and Comedy Central special, “Au Contraire,” due in stores May 12.
Paul F. Tompkins performs at Comix on May 3.