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Master of His Domain

Transgressive comic Patrice O'Neal lets it all hang out at Comix.

Patrice 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, burglars ÖĒ

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 March 17.



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