BY// MAX GREENHALGH
The DC Comedy Loft’s November 9th show with Joanne Filan and John Poveromo was a mixed bag, and a bit of a strange show. This is well emphasized by the fact that the show in the Loft was held on their cellar stage, symbolizing the upside-down evening to come. The gathering was fairly intimate, which aided a general feeling of closeness to the comics on stage. Both Filan and Poveromo rely on crowd work to keep their sets moving, and while the smaller size of the venue made for a unique, intimate feeling, the lighting worked against these comics. Almost all of the lights in the cellar were shut off before the show began, leaving only the first couple of tables to be easily seen by the comics onstage. There were multiple occasions where audience members in the back raised their hands to participate, but could not be seen by those onstage. This led to a roadblock on conversations that could be had.
Filan hit another rather large roadblock about halfway through her routine, which was on a roll to begin. However, when she asked the audience if they owned any dogs, one of the few visible patrons instantly burst into tears. Filan clearly felt bad for upsetting the young woman, and this threw her off her game for the rest of her set. Unlike Poveromo, it seemed that she had almost no solitary, traditional standup material that could be relied upon without audience participation.
Poveromo, on the other hand, was a hit end to end. His performance was the majority of the show, and there was hardly a dull moment. From an early Harvey Weinstein joke onward to trashing his parents’ generation, laughs came early and often. As I discussed last week, Poveromo speaks quickly and doesn’t slow down for those who can’t keep up, which can lead to a few seconds of processing before a laugh for some. However, that wait was most often followed by a laugh. Sometimes, when comedians speak quickly, it feels like they don’t care about their audience. However, something about Poveromo’s pace feels like you are simply being gently ribbed by a friend, instead of being left in the dust just for the sake of sounding smart.
This night at the Comedy Loft was well worth the time, and while there were some minor distractions from the laughs, Filan and Poveromo still generated plenty of them.