On the Scene: Comedy Death-Ray Podcast at Just for Laughs
The Annoyance Theatre is a lofted space. There's a second floor above the lobby that I wasn't even aware of until last night, when I looked up and noticed both David Wain (The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Stella) and Rob Corddry (the Daily Show, Hot Tub Time Machine) staring down at the crowd. The packed house was at the Annoyance for a live recording of Scott Aukerman's hit iTunes show, Comedy Death-Ray Podcast. Wain and Corddry were among the show's special guests.
Don't hesitate to visit iTunes and check out the show. Aukerman mines L.A. for its best comic talent and manages kick-ass guests (Brian Posehn, Paul F. Tompkins, Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, Nick Kroll) week after week after week. Last night's crowd included many of the show's adoring Chicago fan base, and I can't imagine anyone was disappointed with the lineup.
The show kicked off with beat box comic Reggie Watts (who, naturally, introduced himself as Aukerman). Watts is a multitalented guy, especially in his vocal prowess and ad-libbing skills, but try to keep a straight face when he's just shooting the shit; it's no easy feat. He improvised a theme song for the show before introducing the real Aukerman, who sang his own version of Sinatra's "My Kind of Town."
Aukerman's a likable guy: funny in his own right but smart enough to let his guests take center stage. In Death-Ray, he gives comedy geeks something to crow about. And in Chicago last night, he riffed on the city for a bit before introducing Wain and Corddry, who are in town shilling for their fantastic new Adult Swim series Childrens Hospital. Childrens Hospital, also featuring Ken Marino, Megan Mullaly and Erinn Hayes among others, is a parody of shows like Grey's Anatomy and ER. You must check it out.
I was thrilled at how entertaining these guys were live. Wain was especially nimble, and I enjoyed seeing him unattached to some of his State cohorts. Wain and Corddry bantered a bit about the show. I would've liked for them to delve deeper into the show (which started as a Web-based series) and maybe play some clips, but I was content just to hear these guys banter.
Aukerman's final guest (how do you top Wain and Corddry?) was fantastic. I don't even know this comic's real name, but his alter ego was Merrill Schindler, and as best I can tell, it was a parody of Merrill Schindler, the L.A.-based editor of Zagat and "Feed Your Face" radio host. As a bloated food guru with a gluttonous appetite for everything within reach, this version of Schindler took swipes at foodies and our restaurant-obsessed culture. You didn't have to live in L.A. to appreciate his loose, off-the-cuff jabs at everything gastronomy related. His appearance was the kind of unexpected gem I live for at these festivals.
Last night's Comedy Death-Ray Podcast was recorded live, so be sure to download it on iTunes. Funny stuff.