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The UCB Goes Comedy Club

Performers Friedman and Rozzi take their stand-up to the Comix stage

By Kyle Riveral / Jester correspondent

On Feb. 3, Comix saw a pairing of two well-known UCB Theatre-spawned performers, Jon Friedman (best known for his ongoing “Rejection Show” at The Bell House in Brooklyn) and Giulia Rozzi, a co-host of “Stripped Stories,” which has played at Comix and the UCB at times. 

Jon Friedman took the stage with a somewhat sedated air. He reminded one of a slow-speaking but smart pothead, not only in mannerisms but in pun-related, dry humor. Noting the two-drink minimum at comedy clubs, he cleverly displayed America’s idiocy by recalling that “drinking used to be illegal in this country. Now it’s mandatory. Soon in order to gain entry, you’ll be required to run someone down and commit at least two acts of insider trading.” The wit continued with an astute mention of the flawed nursery rhyme “stop, drop and roll.” According to him, these three things are far too much for a child to retain. “I’m on fire. Is it drop, or stop?” Moreover, two of the three are altogether unnecessary. Time that is wasted which could be used in putting the fire out is spent on stopping and dropping. “We don’t need ‘stop.’ And actually, we don’t need ‘drop’ either. Just roll.” The whole thing, he concluded, should just be changed to “Roll.”

As he does in the “Rejection Show,” where Friedman and guests share tales of having material and ideas rejected by venues or media, he explored the comedic process by giving examples of things comics jot down on the fly. Sometimes an idea comes, he explained, and you get home and try to flesh it out, but don’t remember what you were thinking at the time. He held the notebook up and began to read. “Take the pillow out of the bag? Are you crazy?” He effectively regaled the audience with another one. Sitting on the train he “knew the joke had to do with a vagina, so I wrote ‘vagina’ in my notebook. You know how if someone’s reading a newspaper next to you, you can’t help but glance at the headlines?” It seems the passenger adjacent to him had turned to see Jon staring intently at the lone word “vagina” in his notebook. Despite Friedman not ever remembering the joke, the story turned into the joke.

Giulia Rozzi also takes the stage with a fairly unassuming presence. But she had a lively bit about an audition for a commercial in which she was simply directed to “turn to the left, then right.” Overly-ecstatic about the acting potentiality, she struck a pose and dramatically shifted from side to side in a twirling motion. “They say turn left, then right. All I hear is ‘dance!’”

She engaged in long, calm expositions of both societal and individual deficiencies. One that took hold was the evident plague of subways with unfit mothers. “You will see the worst mothers on the subway. I saw a beast of a woman yell at her child after the child tugged at her saying they’re hungry. ‘Is that my problem?’ Yes! As a matter of fact it is. You are their mother. Maybe if you spent your money on condoms instead of the neck tattoo of a bunny holding a gun…”

Rozzi walked the line with commentary on race but still somehow kept her material light. “I’m Italian, and my Italian mother thinks there are four races: Italian, of course; black; white; and ‘Chineses’, she says. I told her that currently I’m dating an Indian, and she said ‘So he’s black?’ No mom, Indian. ‘So he’s black.’”

The duo, as stand-up performers, tended more toward discourse rather than rapid-fire jokes and punchlines, but both Rozzi and Friedman held the attention of the Comix audience and entertained.

 

   

     

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