by Corbett Cummins
photos by Heather Christianson
If you were paying attention to the comedy line up at Bumbershoot you may have been aware that there was a bit of a mystery surrounding the final show at the Intiman Theater. The theater was supposed to host a series of highly anticipated shows featuring Zach Galifianakis and Michelle Buteau. For reasons so mysterious that 5 minutes of Googling could not unearth them, Zach Galifianakis had to drop out all of them. This left three wholes in the schedule. On Saturday it was announced that David Cross fill the spot. On Sunday it was Jenean Garafalo. But even at this late date the web site still says Michelle Buteau and special guest. It wasn’t until we were actually heading over to stage that we caught wind that Aziz Ansari from Human Giant and local star Nick Thune would take Zach’s spot on the final night.
The show was hosted again by the ever personable Pete Holmes who warmed up the audience the way a stove top takes to a tea pot. He made particularly good friends with a person in the front row named Boyd who was wearing a “pot-shirt”. When he introduced Aziz Ansari, he added “and fucking Boyd is here” and the audience roared like he had just said Jon Stewart.
In 2005, Aziz made it on Rolling Stones Hot List as a Hot Comic. Since then, he has been on Flight of the Conchordes, the movie The Rocker with Rainn Wilson.
What most people didn’t realize was that Human Giant (starring Aziz) was scheduled to start in the middle of the Intiman show. This meant that the instant Aziz left the stage, he had to run across the Seattle center to the Charlotte Martin Theatre. Despite this, his set was smooth and unhurried.
His comedy was a combination of fictional and real scenarios, from a homophobic cell phone to his little cousin Harris and even programs that share airwaves with him on MTV like “Next” to which he said, “If anybody here has ever been a contestant on Next, do me a favor and go away and die. You are a horrible person and I don’t want comedy bringing any kind of enjoyment into your horrible existence.”
He was followed by Michelle Buteau. Michelle has a spot on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and recently won New York’s Underground Comedy Festival’s New Comics Award. She was easily the most charming performer to grace the stage all weekend.
She had an infectious smile that illuminated the room before she was even in front of the mic stand. Her comedy was cute, smart, mean and slutty. She had an ability to say anything and have it come off sweet and nice and she used it to skewer everything from from Seattle’s lilly white-ness(“No I love it, I feel exoootic”) to New Yorks hyper diversity (“Whenever I leave Manhattan and go the rest of the country, if I don’t see black people or gay people or smell piss I get nervous”) and made everybody part of the joke.
The final comedian was Nick Thune. Nick is a Seattle comedy alum who currently lives in L.A. He has been on the Jay Leno show, he has a half hour comedy showcase on Comedy Central and a series of videos on iTunes called iThunes. Nick has a smart, self deprecating and slightly snarky sense of humor. He is very good at delicately setting up the audiences expectations and then smashing them.
Nick opened by strumming his guitar along with his jokes.
“I love taking pictures of people with my cell phone. There’s no camera on it, but, nobody knows that. Its just 45 seconds people awkwardly posing for pictures… while I check my text messages (strum),
“Yogurt drinks are so good, unless you’re thirsty.” (strum!)
After that, he walked up into the audience.
“Would you play truth or dare with me? (no answer) I’ll take that as a yes. What’s your favorite anti drug campaign, Truth or D.A.R.E?”
For his finale, he went back to stage and invited a friend out to play the six string electric slide and concluded the show with a two guitar song about doing a back flip along side of Cuba Gooding Jr and saving a baby.
With his back flipped, the baby saved and the music over Nick stepped off of the stage to an ecstatic audience and closed down the comedy portion of our Bumbershoot experience.