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Stand-up comedians pair up for online video-inspired stage show

The Nathan & Joe Internet Comedy Show, the brainchild of stand-up comics Nathan Phillips and Joe Schiappa, seen July 1 at Comix, is intermittently funny and has its moments -- like when the duo hits on a great one-liner in one of the show’s video segments.

The show is made up of several skits where the duo play characters, both on video and on stage. Some are presented as videos found online. Other segments feature Phillips or Schiappa reacting live to videos by talking into a webcam projected onto the big screen at the center of the stage.

Some of the funniest lines in the show came as part of the pair’s “Horace French: Designer” videos, in which Schiappa’s effeminate character reacted to pairs of pants they sorted through at a secondhand store -- pulling out a big pair of red sweatpants and commenting, “this is the fattest ass I’ve ever seen,” or repeatedly smelling another pair of pants in seeming delight then saying, “someone peed in these.”

But the aforementioned segments where Phillips and Schiappa took turns commenting on a popular YouTube video where a QVC pitchman accidentally cut himself with a samurai sword, seemed to fall a little flat -- especially since the live audience was a bit too small in too big a room. One could see that their comments in these segments struck the performers themselves as absurd and funny, but they really hadn’t thought through whether they really played that way outside their own heads.

However, Schiappa and Phillips did fare a little better in the last two or three somewhat improvised pieces they closed their show with. In one, Phillips played “Gerry DiBrugugliuglio,” an overconfident web video impresario whose underhand mission was to get two women to make out so he could record it. Another segment, “The Shit We Read on the Internet,” found the pair affecting British accents and taking questions from the audience. Although it seemed to be an obvious plant, one occasioned a hilarious theory on “Return of the Je di” really being about a minor, dialogue-less character quickly killed in one scene.

In all, the “Nathan & Joe Internet Comedy Show” is a bit of a mixed bag of ideas. For every bit that succeeded in being amusing outside the performers’ own minds, there was one that didn’t. It may be that they adhered too tightly to the format they conceived whether every piece would then work or not, or maybe they need to come up with a few stronger pieces. The show has promise, but also could be helped in its development by playing a slightly smaller room first. 



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