Entries in stand up comedy (2)


Nate Bargatze at #JFL42

Nate Bargatze takes the stage and has an instantly disarming presence, no matter the venue.  Within moments his stories seem like they're coming from an old friend.  It's not exactly obvious but part way through the show we realize this is a big part of Bargatze's mastery of the craft.  With such casual ease he performs material that makes it feel like he isn't performing at all. 

The Royal Theatre hosted his headlining performance, and along with him came opener Sarah Tiana.  Her energetic show was a perfect compliment to Bargatze.  She had the audience losing their minds within minutes and set up a brilliant long form set.  Later in the week Nate performed at the Queen Elizabeth theatre opening for Natasha Leggero.  It was incredible to witness his ability to tailor the material to a different audience and setting. 

He lets us into his world, and has no fear in admitting how much he loves Wal-Mart.  Bargatze puts a brilliant shine on everyday life, and keeps you thinking outside your own experience.  He's never loud or outrageous, he'll ease you into a new idea and surprise you everytime.  The Nashville upbringing and laidback attitude seemed to make him a favourite with Toronto audiences.  Impeccable timing and a politely subversive perspective make him a legend, because he makes it looks so easy.


JFL42: T.J. Miller

T.J. Miller seemed to take the stage with a sense of both confidence and curiousity.  It appeared to us that a good part of his performance is improvised and that sometimes the show surpised even him with what happened.  He acknowledged that the audience may have recognized him from 'Transformers' or something and showed up to see this.  Miller made fun of the JFL42 credit based admission system, and insisted that the Air Canada and Sirius XM logos remain illuminated for his show.  

The unpredictability of this show is what made it entertaining.  The awkward rants, the ability to start a joke, get distracted and then discuss the joke and why it may or may not work make for a show that's like no other.  This felt like we were experiencing something other than stand up comedy, more of Miller's stream of consciousness.  His observations on our world, though not always amusing are certainly insightful and rebellious.  When Miller got into discussing the futility of trying to stick it to TicketMaster and the most American product on the market from Evian he's leading each and every person in the audience to question the role these companies and what they sell have in their lives.

T.J. Miller is at times tough to follow, a little wild, and certainly whimsical, but there is more to this show than it first seems.  He puts on a show like no one else, and in that he does what no one else can...