Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bonnaroo Comedy Friday: Rory Scovel, TJ Miller and More

Posted By on Sat, Jun 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Yesterday I realized that one of the most dynamic elements of the festival is missing so far: I have yet to see a sign language interpreter at the comedy tent. The good men and women of ASL put their whole bodies into it, and it's fun to watch them work basically on the fly, translating dirty jokes with aplomb. Where are the deaf comedy fans? Everyone else will just have to make do without this year.

Rory Scovel (who made a live record last summer at Third Man) presented himself as a Christian comic, and talked about how hard it is for a comic with his sensibility to work on the comedy circuit, what with his clean language and message about the Bible. Twist! He's not. In fact, he hates that joke, he said. Scovel's whole set is pretty much a series of dynamic shaggy dog stories, punctuated by occasional bangs on the stage keyboard. "I personify the emotions the days of the week have!" for example, with Tuesday being the day that says "Let's do trivia!" The keyboard was likewise a delight, where a man who can't play the piano had been hired to work at a hotel lobby seamlessly segued into Brian Eno.

TJ Miller of Silicon Valley appeared soaking wet, which led me to believe the dark skies had opened up while folks had been chilling in the comedy tent. But no, it was an aerosol bottle of Evian for cooling, which he occasionally blasted his face with. It was a joke, but I also brought one with me because those things are actually fabulous. Miller's set was a little more amorphous than Scovel's, and though I am the kind of person who is INTENSELY irritated and embarrassed by audience members who holler out, Miller was loosey-goosey enough to work that into set, and I bless the man for his patience. This isn't a crowd of comedy fans — not really. This is a crowd of intensely fucked-up people who, when prompted to do a Q&A with the comics, ask questions like "Have you ever done acid?" Scovel joined him for the Q&A and essentially ignored all the questions except for one angel of a woman who requested a dance-off, which was a charming way to end the set.

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