Back on October 8th, 2011, I got the pleasure of attending the taping of Paul F. Tompkins’ new Comedy Central special at the grandiose Alex Theater. It was as hilarious as you’d expect from one of, if not, the funniest men working in comedy today. Tompkins’ evolution has been impressive where has gone from more conceptual humor to more story based comedy, by his own admission, mind you. That evolution was on full display during this special. I see his prolific and impressive work on all podcasts including his own, Pod F. Tompkast, as part of the reason he has gotten more comfortable telling long stories without immediate pay off on stage (keep in mind that this is an appraisal based more off following him mainly though podcasts these past few years than seeing him perform live. I’m sure it’s a combination of the two, but most likely more a result of his unparalleled work ethic and brilliant mind). That was a long tangent to cover myself from saying something probably way off basis (Don’t judge me, nameless internet interneters). This special is structured around Tompkins’ jobs prior to being a comedian. He starts by talking about his retail jobs moving all the way to hosting Best Week Ever before it inevitably got canceled. The running thread between these jobs is Tompkins desire not to be yelled at. A feeling we can all relate to, and one I’m currently experiencing, which is hard when I have like nineteen bosses. Due to Tompkins using that jobs that he got yelled at as a structure, it makes the stories instantly relate-able to everyone and make the material accessible to everyone. The stories are human and most of all hysterical. My buddy and I were fighting for breath the entire time. As a treat for attending the taping, we got to see Paul do some terrific punch ups, where he played the manner off with humor and aplomb. As an extra special treat, we got something straight out of the Tompkast, where he brought the talented and ever silent Eban Schletter out to back him up on the piano. Paul told an insane stream of consciousness story that has unfortunately faded from my mind like it was some lucid fever dream, where he was telling it only to me. Then to close out, he sang a rousing rendition of “Danny Boy”, and it nearly brought a tear to my eye. I hope both of these make the extras on the DVD. Probably one of the best evenings I had in a very long time. Not even the majority of the room wearing “California Formal” jeans and a plaid shirt when Paul asked for people to dress nicely (Come on, the man wears a fifteen piece suit and you can’t wear a dress shirt and slacks?) or having to wait in a labyrinthine line or fighting LA traffic and almost missing the show could ruin the show.
*Photo was posted by Paul F. Tompkins on his facebook a few days after the taping of the gorgeous backdrop from the show.
I highly recommend catching the special whenever it will air on Comedy Central, I’m sure Mr. Tompkins will post about it before it does. So, follow him on tumblr, twitter, facebook friend him, shower him with praise, however, you choose to get you Tompkins based news is good. And if you don’t subscribe to his two excellent podcasts, the Pod F. Tompkast and the Dead Authors podcast, then what the fuck are you doing with your life by not having 100% more joy in it?