‘Find the Funny’ returns to Joe’s Pub, jubilations had
February 6, 2014
Comedy shows in New York City are always hit or miss. When they are good, they are good, but when they are even the slightest bit off, the show can be painful to sit through. Therefore, it is a serious relief when you find a standup act that is consistently excellent. One such show is Benjamin Walker’s “Find the Funny,” a Joe’s Pub favorite that always features a great lineup of comics and musical acts.
Returning to Joe’s Pub after a year-long hiatus, “Funny” is back and better than ever. Hosted by Benjamin Walker (star of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”), “Funny” is a monthly show that offers its audience a mix of established comics and up-and-comers. Previous comics include stars like Hannibal Buress and Janeane Garofalo.
After an opening video parody of Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” chronicling the history of “Funny,” which started in a basement during Walker’s college days, comic Ali Wong was the first to take the stage on Feb. 4. The audience was on board immediately as Wong established an easy back and forth.
Coming up after Wong was “Funny” veteran Phoebe Robinson. Robinson, who hosts a weekly comedy show at Manchester Pub, is a favorite among the regulars in the “Funny” audience.
Danny Deferrari, an actor who had never set foot on a comedy stage before the show on Tuesday, followed Robinson. As he introduced Deferrari, Walker told the audience to be enthusiastic but to show “no pity.” Despite his nerves, Deferrari smiled through his act, which focused on how this experience was his first time trying stand-up and his hope that it would go well, which it did.
After Deferrari’s set, Chris Eldridge, a musician best known as the guitarist of the Punch Brothers, took the stage. “I’m going to play you some hillbilly music,” he said, certainly inciting some apprehension among the New York crowd. But what he performed was much more than that. Eldridge’s incredible guitar playing and excellent voice complemented each other perfectly. As he riffed on his acoustic guitar, the audience continually broke into cheers, awed by his performance.
Headliner Mike Lawrence, a comedian best recognized for his appearances on “Conan” and Comedy Central, closed out the night. He had the crowd in stitches, covering topics from sex to “The Lion King”— a strong end to a great night of comedy. The audience left with smiles on their faces and asking one another when “Find the Funny” would return to Joe’s Pub.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Feb. 6 print edition. Dylan Jarrett is books/theater editor. Email her at [email protected] .