Letter to the Editor: Regarding the Mar. 3 article entitled, “Comedy Apocalypse XII: Last Laugh Before Finals”

Dear Editor,

I want to compliment Highlander writer Robert Lees for his well-written, well-observed and knowledgable review of the KUCR Comedy Apocalypse 12.  Lees gets into the details.  He seems to know comedy well and pretty much nailed everything, the high points and where a sketch could have been improved.  I liked his writerly turns of phrase, such as in his description of comic Ramin Nazer, “his face alight with mad energy.”  That’s exactly right and couldn’t have been put better.  Nazer’s performance was the most surreal and cracked.  It was the alt/avant comic turn of the the evening.  (For me, Nazer is funnier in retrospect, as I puzzle through levels of meaning days later.)  Lees understands the distinctions: Though Baron Vaughn and Matt Braunger have different styles, both are classic stand-up craftsmen, who are top-tier talents and well-known among pro comics.

Nazer was wonderfully bizarre, Vaughn was amazing, but Braunger’s performance for Comedy Apocalypse 12 was off the charts brilliant — probably the best ever for us, and better than I have seen him do in other venues. He levitated the crowd into a giddy state with perfect timing, character bits and narrative.  And he has a ton of material he didn’t even use.  I noted that Nazer and Vaughn came out of the green room to watch him.  You don’t see that often, because pro comics have seen a lot of other comics and get jaded.  Once a comic performs, they usually hole up in the back with their cell phones.  In this case, they came out, sitting on the floor, because all  the seats were taken, to watch Braunger.  They know who he is and what he can do.  They wanted to see him do his art, which he executed at what must be his peak ability.  And he brought it in full.  Lees describes it well.

We see comedy not just as entertainment, but as a type of performed art, which produces a specialized response, laughter, in an audience.  What is laughter if not a recognition of some kind of truth that bypasses conscious barriers?  It’s unique, part of the human condition and somehow therapeutic, personally and socially.  Yes, it’s contradictory to take absurdity so seriously, but there’s something special that happens when we laugh.  We all know this, on one level or another.  That’s a core reason that motivates the Comedy Apocalypse series.  As Lees observed, we really try to recreate, in the Barn, a full-on real, adult, comedy club that you might find in Manhattan, without the booze and cover-charges, but with the attitude and the talent.   We also want to note that the Barn staff has done a great job in supporting our efforts.

Again, compliments to the astute Robert Lees and The Highlander.

Best regards,

Louis Vandenberg

KUCR Director/General Manager

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