Contributed by Jennifer Heaney.
Jeff Burghart performed at Wiseguys in West Valley City on Feb. 27, but there was a definite difference in the crowd’s energy between his act on that evening and the March 6 lineup made up entirely of Utah comedians.
That’s not to say the audience didn’t enjoy the evening. All four comedians who performed were Utah comics catering to a Utah crowd, and for the most part they gave the audience just what they came for. Watching emcee Greg Kyte, from Provo, was kind of like hanging out with your loudest, cockiest friend when he’s piss-drunk. If you closed your eyes, you’d swear Bobcat Goldthwait was on stage; it was uncanny how similar his voice was. He had confidence, and was definitely the best of the performers in revving up the crowd.
The style of Layton’s Mike Anderson was in stark contrast to Kyte, and his soft voice and calm demeanor wound up sucking a lot of energy from the room, rather than carrying the momentum through. He was very clean, and mostly told silly pop-culture jokes and made fun of himself. The crowd laughed politely, but nothing killed.
The second guest comic was Kiley Cook from Kearns. He had a bit more energy than Anderson, but was still extremely clean and, again, focused mostly on obvious pop-culture references and making fun of himself. He stumbled over his words a bit, and seemed less comfortable on stage than Anderson. His act fizzled toward the end, and the audience again mostly laughed politely.
The headliner of the evening was Dave Metcalfe (pictured) from Bountiful, whose most obvious trait was his hunchback. This descriptor is not meant to be insulting in any way; in fact, he advertises himself as a “hunchback,” and makes it the focus of a lot of his jokes.
Any energy that Cook was able to bring back to the audience was quickly destroyed by Metcalfe’s intro. He spent the first few moments just breathing into the mic while the audience giggled uncomfortably. Though he had a slow start, I could sense a glimmer of real talent in his act, and kept waiting for him to just break out of the “poor me” act and surprise me with something biting and relevant.
It never happened. The crowd seemed to enjoy the evening with the same enthusiasm that might be experienced watching an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. There were more people in attendance this week than last week, but it didn’t feel like it.
The four comedians who performed were well-practiced, seg%uFFFDll from joke to joke and kept their acts light-hearted and silly. They seemed to have a good feel for what a Utah audience would enjoy, and kept their acts extremely clean and non-offensive—which was probably good, considering there was a 17-year old celebrating her birthday in the crowd.