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Friday, January 21, 2005

Stephen Lynch and Mitch Hedberg. Scranton Cultural Center. January 20, 2005.

First up on this comedy double bill; Stephen Lynch was funny as humanly possible. New songs ("I'm Satan, Whoo Hoo!!!" was excellent), new material added to older songs (college years added to the song "Special Ed"), and good interplay with the audience. Buy his merchandise at all good retailers (and probably a few bad ones).

Then came Mitch Hedberg, and it was a different matter altogether. The man that many have called the new Stephen Wright (deadpan delivery), the man that has the line "...if carrots got you drunk, rabbits would be all fucked up..." did not turn up at the SCC. What we got instead was a man that arrived drunk (and possibly as high as a kite) and proceeded to get more wasted through his set. Not on carrots either. Hedberg was a mess, unable to hide behind his usual 'laid back' stage persona.

Audience members were trying to help him, shouting out the beginnings of some of his routines to help him remember his own act. He would mumble incoherently at times, remember parts of his act from the prompts, laugh at the joke before he got to the punchline (the "koala infestation" joke was one example of this) and by the end of his set was return-heckling the audience members that were rightly disappointed in the man's performance. He died up there, and finally started prompting the crowd to cheer louder at his next "set piece" so he could leave on a high note.

Outside in the freezing cold, a man was selling screen-printed Mitch Hedberg t-shirts foir $5 and was probably wondering why business was so slack.

Watching the one-man train wreck that unfolded before our eyes, it sadly reminded me of Lenny Bruce. Another comedy genius that pushed the boundary of what was deemed acceptable, Bruce died of a drug overdose at the age of 39. Mitch Hedberg is only three years younger and it looks like, unless he gets himself cleared up, he could be emulating the "live fast, die young" performer that had his life cut short in the sixties.

Listen : The Way It Is - Prodigy ... Craig Christ - Stephen Lynch.

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