What Was the Last Comedian You Saw Live?

On Thursday, I drove to Springfield with my girlfriend to watch Jim Gaffigan perform live at Missouri State University.

I wouldn’t say this is a normal activity for me. I enjoy stand-up comedy, but it’s readily available on Netflix and Amazon Prime. But I’m really glad I went, because I had kind of forgotten how good it feels to laugh in the same room with a lot of other people.

That was certainly the case on Thursday. I had no idea Jim Gaffigan was so popular, to the point that I was worried that enough people would show up in the middle of Missouri to see him. When I bought the tickets, I selected “best available seats,” and I got a seat in row 12. I figured it would be me and a few dozen other people.

Nope! Big time mistake. There was a huge line outside of the theater (which was actually a basketball stadium), and while it wasn’t quite sold out, there were at least 6,000 people there. And my row 12 seats weren’t on the floor near the stage–they were in section A, way in the back.

Gaffigan put on a great show. He did a bit specifically about Springfield, and a lot of the jokes seemed carefully selected for that audience. I was laughing constantly, and a few jokes brought me to tears (Megan too).

We later learned that he’s one of the most successful comedians in the US, which makes his “everyman” persona even more impressive. He’s worked hard, and he does 300 shows a year–well done, Jim!

What’s the last comedian you saw in person? Do you enjoy the live experience? Who would you like to see?

11 thoughts on “What Was the Last Comedian You Saw Live?”

  1. Jamey,

    Gaffigan and John Mulaney would make my short list of comedians, as they are clean and tend to write to the audience in attendance. It’s been awhile since I saw a live performance in D.C. and I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of the comedian.

  2. I want to see Pete Holmes bad!!!

    I love Pete Holmes.

    my last comic was a local performer named Jess Everett who is going to go far, he is one of my fave comics ever.

    I go to open mic comedy as much as I can. we have a weekly show in olympia and it has amazing talent. I have seen over 200 comics in the past couple years. it is part of my mental health treatment plan.

    Comedy to me is one of the purest art forms there is. Words and a mic and a light. It draws smart people. It makes people happy, what is not to love?

    it is also very difficult technically. someone like Gaffigan is so polished, and that polish comes from doing an immense number of shows. it takes real drive and love to succeed in the field, and it is very hard to stand out.

    check out Pete, and John Mulaney, and Kumail Nanjiani, and Azis Ansari….and and and…. đŸ˜‰

  3. I saw Patton Oswalt a couple of years back at the renowned Just for Laughs comedy festival at a great venue, the Maison Symphonique. I was thrilled he decided to do a show in my town as I wanted to have my wife come out with me to enjoy what would be a great night of comedy. After having read his books, listened to his albums and after many viewings of his comedy specials, I was really in heaven during his set.

  4. My hubs and I went to see Hasan Minaj when he was in Cupertino, CA last year. Fabulous show in a theater that has no bad seats. We then went and saw Daliso Chaponda – runner up in Britain’s Got Talent when we were in the UK last year – Another fabulous show. He signed a show poster for us. A couple of months ago we saw Preacher Lawson at the San Jose Improv. Funny stuff – and it felt cool to be able to see him since we loved him so much on America’s Got Talent.

    On my wish list: Daliso Chaponda again – absolutely love him. I’d also like to see Joe Lycett (never been) and Jim Jeffries (again).

  5. A couple of years ago, I went to see Paula Poundstone. She’s great. Rather than tailor her show to the audience, she actually just talks to the audience, asks people questions and then finds ways to make their responses funny. She deadpans a lot, pretending to be ignorant and then weaves her own jokes and stories into her reaction to the people she’s talking to. It’s pretty impressive, since she comes in not knowing what people are going to tell her, so she needs to improvise a lot. She’s very deadpan and dry, which I love. And her comedy is fairly intelligent despite that she plays herself down as uneducated and ignorant. I think that persona allows her to make fun of pretentiousness and self-importance.
    I think the value of a live comedy show over a recorded show is that the recorded shows tend to be heavily scripted and cultivated for a broad audience. It takes a lot of the personality out of the comedy you’ll get if you see that person live.

    • Adam, live v recorded, yes. Byt the time someone does their special it had better be a well oiled audience tested machine, just like a game release.

      I love open mic comedy because of the unexpected joy of watching bits be born. I am fortunate that the NW has a thriving scene of people breaking ground. I have seen over 200 “baby” comics playtesting material, and have seen some amazing things. I have seen a lot of the same, which does not stand out, but I have seen some magic, bits I would hold against full professionals.

      A lot of open mic people are amateurs who are good, some are professionals, but both levels can create magic in the moment. I also see some people who I think have potential to rise up and be the next big comic. I called it w Chris Rock when he was a baby comic, and I there are a few locals I would put money on if I had it đŸ˜‰

      If there is open mic comedy in your area I do suggest checking it out. It is usually pretty cheap, and I have yet to have a show that did not make me happy in some way. People usually only get 3 minutes so if you dont like a comic, it is a short time until a new one. and I tell ya, the comics are really really grateful to have a generous audience, generous with their laughter. And you see their courage and growth up close, so many times I have seen peoples first sets, where they are literally full body shaking like rabbits, and then watching them grow up to be comfortable on the stage and then get their polish, it is lovely.

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