Daily Show correspondent and UCB alum unveils stand-up set
it’s being under tutelage of Jon Stewart, but Rob Riggle has gone from
intermittent flashes of brilliance in improv, small roles in a few
independent films centered around Upright Citizens Brigade players and
one SNL season where Lorne Michaels underused him, to a solid hour-plus
stand-up comedy act seen at the UCB Theatre July 26.
Riggle’s emergence from the UCB scene in this respect might seem
unexpected, because the theater and the stars it has spawned tend to
favor improv and sketch comedy over stand-up, but his storytelling seen
in past improv performances pointed to what he can do with stand-up. (UCB’s
all-star ASSSCAT Sunday night shows often feature storytelling, even
“designated storytellers,” as the impetus for their scenes).
A lot of Riggle’s stand-up act plays on an insensitive guy persona, but
it’s edgier and smarter than Adam Sandler or Ray Romano, for example. In
one extended riff, Riggle goes off on “oldies,” as he calls senior
citizens, and his irrational hatred for them in places like airports and
supermarkets. Riggle tells an improbable story of one addled senior
inspecting various bags coming around on the baggage carousel (as Riggle
puts it, “finger-fucking” each one for, like, 5 minutes) and failing to
realize his suitcase is indeed his the first time around.
But Riggle doesn’t always rely on profanity to be funny. In another air
travel riff, he talks about getting his revenge on an annoying group of
Long Islanders seated around him on a flight by letting go “hot flow”
(his coinage for silent farts) around them as he gets up for a walk to
You could even say Riggle has a knack for making bodily function humor
smart, as in another section of the show about the disgusting aspects of
football stadium men’s rooms -- in a Carlin-esque riff, Riggle asks us
to imagine 200 guys drunk, eating stadium food, and holding it in for
hours because it’s a close game. “We don’t deserve love,” he concludes.
Considering that Riggle is a Daily Show player now, he doesn’t get into
politics much in his stand-up, other than a riff about liking the
current time in the Presidential primaries because “you can watch the
also-rans get picked off one by one like some sort of sleep-away camp
And considering that this appears to be one of the first times Riggle
has done a stand-up set like this, it’s surprisingly fully formed,
almost ready to be worthy of release as a CD, or perhaps as a Comedy
Central hour special if it’s cleaned-up or beeped just a little.
Hopefully someone’s steering Riggle in that direction.