Kevin Nealon at the Laugh Factory | Comedy review
Kevin Nealon is funny—very funny, in fact. It's been so many years since he appeared on SNL (that gig ended in 1995) that I had forgotten what a cut-up he can be. At an 8pm sold-out show at the Laugh Factory on Friday, the first of four, he cracked the crowd up with a series of rapid-fire one liners aimed at amusing more than provoking. In these tough times, it proved a winning formula.
In the tradition of the Zucker brother films (Airplane!, The Naked Gun), in which there are so many gags, both verbal and visual, per minute that the audience barely has time to catch its breath, Nealon kept the audience constantly in stitches. He emerged by dashing through the crowd and hitting the stage with a round of high fives followed by a quick dose of Purell (the audience roared). "We're going to have a good time tonight," he announced. "Not here." Barely two jokes into his set he asked, "How am I doing on time?"
Nealon eschews slow-build storytelling ending with a knockout punchline in favor of straight-up observational humor with an absurd twist. "Never wear a red t-shirt to Target," Nealon quipped. "I enjoy helping people, but not every two minutes." Another: "I took ecstasy, but only as a breath mint. It was curiously strong." He delved into drug use again when talking about cocaine addiction. He's never tried the stuff because it's traditionally served on a mirror and he's got low self-esteem. At times, his jokes were almost Steven Wright-like in their thought process. "Don't play dead with a vulture," said Nealon. "That's exactly what they want." Also, "I have a wandering eye and a lazy eye so they cancel each other out. It's a push."
Nealon taped a live show in February for Showtime which aired earlier this month. If you missed his performance this weekend in Chicago, Kevin Nealon: Whelmed But Not Overly, is worth checking out.