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Finnegan Begins Again

Ubiquitous pop-culture comic highlights Paul F. Tompkins’ monthly 92Y Tribeca show

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. 


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