The live comedy market isn’t what it once was, and today people would rather spend their Friday night home catching up with Jersey Shore repeats on On Demand.
Friday night at Wiseguys in West Valley was no exception, and comedian Bobcat Goldthwait took the stage in front of exactly 31 people. Goldthwait was obviously disappointed with the turnout for the late show--he’d played an earlier set that night also--and claimed it was the smallest crowd he’d ever performed in front of. He made a couple of quick jokes about it, as did both openers and the house MC, and then decided that since there were only a few people there, he’d buy pizza for the entire crowd. He pulled out his cell phone and called Domino’s, ordered eight pizzas and used the delivery quote time as a timer of sorts for his act. Listening to him try to explain the situation--and who he was--to the girl on the other end of the phone was priceless.
He went through his act, but it was tough for him (or any comedian that night) to get into a rhythm, because some of the punchlines would elicit only a mild chuckle--or worse, not work at all. His set was a mixture of self-deprecating humor about his former career as the weird-voiced screamer from Police Academy, dated (yet still pretty funny) jokes about Michael Jackson’s funeral and some downright hilarious stories, most of which would have gone over like gangbusters in front of a bigger crowd. Goldthwait took a couple jabs at local comedian Marcus, whom he clearly doesn’t care for, and had some great interaction with a few people in the crowd. By the time the pizza showed up, Goldthwait was working his closing anecdote, which would have been a great way to end on a high note; unfortunately it fell a little flat. A few people had already checked out, and were just waiting for the free pizza. It was a shame, too. The closer was definitely one of the set highlights. Too bad there wasn’t much of a crowd there to make it work as well as it should have.
Local comedians Rodney Norman and Jacob Leigh opened the show and did as good of job as they could getting the small crowd warmed up. Norman is a Wiseguys regular, and has opened for a lot of the bigger shows that come through. His routine is very laid-back and filled with quiet jokes that were a nice contrast to Goldthwait's booming personality. Jacob Leigh is another local who seems to still be trying to find his voice. He had some funny stuff, but was bouncing around from bit to bit a little too quickly. He’s got potential, though, and is definitely not afraid of working a tough, small crowd, so you’ve got to give him credit for that.
It was no easy feat for anyone performing that night, but all three of them gave it their best stuff and tried to have fun and that’s all that matters on a night like that. Everyone in the audience appreciated it—all 31 of us.