The 2012 edition of the comedy festival, Just For Laughs Chicago, is now in full swing. For the second night in a row we attended a show for the festival and the set sure did not disappoint. Thursday night’s bill: Patton Oswalt, featuring Kyle Kinane as the opener at the historic Chicago venue, The Vic Theatre.
The Vic Theatre has housed its fair share of comedy legends, most notably Bill Hicks, who taped one of the most iconic standup specials here. Thursday night could very well be considered just as iconic for it had Patton Oswalt’s growth as a comedian and his (seemingly-) effortless hilariousness in full display.
The opener, Kyle Kinane, put on a performance that was worthy of giving him a headliner spot at another venue. Oswalt himself mentioned how he may just need to find someone else to open for him from now on because Kinane is forcing him to step up his game. Kinane had great bits including how hard it is to be real punk rock when you’re living at home and your mom makes your friends’ favorite dip. As customary, the best bit was saved for last. I won’t ruin the joke for you all, I’ll just leave it for you guys with this bit of information: 80s lyrics + a cemetery = hilarious closing joke. Follow Kyle Kinane on twitter and tumblr to see where you can find him performing and to get some laughs throughout the day.
Patton Oswalt’s set had a real stroke of genius. This show further cements him as one of the best stand-up comedians performing today thanks to his ability to perform bits as if he’s simply telling a group of his friends a story about “what just happened the other day” but it actually turns out to be hilarious. Although his style is more so conversational, for someone like me who was seeing him perform live for the first time, seeing him do “crowd work” was equally as entertaining. Oswalt performed some of the “classics,” like the KFC big bowl rebuttal and the closer for his last special (My Weakness Is Strong). However, he largely stuck to his new material and, to no one’s surprise, he killed. Bits about how he can’t fit into a pair of John Varvatos pants after working out for a day, how downtown Chicago’s Grand Luxe Café has bathrooms that should be on a city tour guide, and how he’s grown to be “OK” with bands like Creed and Nickelback and how their approach to what they do is almost heroic (compared to what they could be doing instead). His (first) closer told the story about his encounter with an “escort” made HIM look like the weirdo in the woman’s eyes in that exchange, was met with a standing ovation from all of us in attendance. Patton Oswalt can only get better now, and those of us in attendance were witnesses of what may very well be his best stand-up special yet.
p.s. To get a good idea of just how electric that night was, take Patton Oswalt’s opinion on that: