Master of His Domain
Transgressive comic Patrice O'Neal lets it all
hang out at Comix.
OíNeal masters the tricky terrain for stand-up comedy of playing with an
audience and melding that seamlessly into his own material, all the
while entertaining the audience. Seen Feb. 26 at Comix, OíNeal may have
started slow, chiding the audience for being impatient for him to dig
into his act, but once he got rolling, there was no stopping him.
OíNeal picked out about four different couples out of the audience in
quick succession that he would keep referring to, effectively setting
them up as straight men or counterpoints for his material on sex and
relationships. By choosing all these foils from throughout the audience,
OíNeal pulled everyone into his world.
Like his fellow stand-up Jim Norton (see
interview, 11/2/08), OíNealís material is raw and bawdy, but
delivered good naturedly with a smile at all times. And some of OíNealís
takes on love and sex are more transgressive than they are dirty, such
as a long discourse on cheating and threesomes, based on the premise
that men donít really intend to hurt their wives or break up their
families when they do something wrong -- that itís even necessary to
keep some sanity.
Most of OíNealís performance, which ran about 75 minutes, focused on
sex, with a minor part of it about race, in which he also pulled in the
audience, including this reviewer at one point. Starting on the idea
that the races get their ideas about each other mostly from TV news,
OíNeal asked, ďHow do you see black people on the news?Ē When I shied
from committing to answer, he said, ďthatís right, criminals, murderers,
Not every part of OíNealís show is going to be for everybody, but
that depends more on how open you are to certain topics rather than
taking offense at language. Still, thereís no denying OíNealís mastery
of entertaining with his stand-up, and if you are up for the challenge,
you will get a lot of laughs from his show.
OíNeal performs again at Comix on Feb. 27, and returns there on