We could all use some laughs.

True Fact: I love live comedy. Probably 50 percent of what I stream on Netflix is simply random stand-up specials.

Recently, I saw Aziz Ansari perform. I really cannot say enough about how Ansari’s new tour exceeded my expectations. Just as funny previous shows, but the material was actually kind of insightful, too. His bits seemed deeper and more personal while still being hilarious. Maybe he’s maturing as an artist*. If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend scoring some tickets for one of his performances because he is amazing. And if you don’t have the opportunity, then you should definitely at least check out the two specials he has available on Netflix Instant, especially if you need a pick-me-up after a genuinely horrible week.

But this post isn’t actually about Ansari. It’s about the comedian who opened for him that night on his “Buried Alive” tour, a really funny guy who did a lot of material about his Jewish heritage and whose name, unfortunately, I could not understand at all over the Warner Theater‘s mic system. Every time they said it, I would swear to God they were calling him “Motion Capture.” As in, the technique responsible for just about every CGI-heavy movie ever. That couldn’t be right.

When I got home, Google helped me figure out that his name is actually Moshe Kasher. And he also has a special, “Live in Oakland,” available on Netflix Instant. So I queued it up tonight to cheer me up. I suppose that’s a lot of pressure to put on any performer (“please make me entirely forget for an hour that my whole week sucked”), so I’m not sure it’s completely his fault that this was a misfire. But it wasn’t all me either.

He was genuinely delightful when I saw him opening, and his material felt really original. Intellectual, but raunchy and with some unique life experiences that you don’t hear every comedian discussing. And he gave a solid performance in the special, too, but I felt like the longer set meandered more. The transitions during his live act seemed tighter and carried the audience more confidently down a narrative path. Whereas watching the special tonight, I certainly laughed, but there were several points where my attention began to drift. And towards the end the special totally went off the rails in a spectacularly ill-advised fashion. Sadly, although I was entertained enough to watch for more of him in the future, I’m not nearly as excited about discovering him as I previously had been.

 

*  I’m aware that this is not how most people would describe a performance wherein one of the most frequently used vocabulary words was “jizz.” He also ran a little blue.

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