Big Jay Oakerson / Morgan O'Shea Théâtre Ste. Catherine, Montreal QC, March 27

Big Jay Oakerson / Morgan O'Shea Théâtre Ste. Catherine, Montreal QC, March 27
Photo: Susan Moss
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For the inaugural night of The Brunch Club, a new monthly standup evening of comedy acts that don't often perform in Montreal, the Théâtre Ste. Catherine invited Philly native Big Jay Oakerson for his brand of "raunchy rock'n'roll hilarity." While I concede I may not be the target audience for a set that relies mostly on tried-and-tested racism, sexism, and homophobia, it would seem much of the comedy-seeking crowd still is, so kudos for knowing your audience. Whether it was mocking Asian sex-trade workers, belittling sexual assault, asking female audience members' whether they'd been finger-blasted, it was all par for the course.
 
A large portion of his set was dedicated to the old "men and women can't be friends because guys are simply waiting for the go-ahead to fuck their female friends" bit, which didn't really veer into any sort of interesting territory and simply rehashed stereotypes. This was the main issues with Oakerson's set: while there were some legitimately funny moments, they'd be bogged down by such standard comedy fare or cloaked in "radical" offensiveness that it became hard to appreciate them. Oakerson is a comedian who thinks he's a lot more controversial than he actually is: the type of comedian who will blame the audience for being too uptight when a joke falls flat, thinking people simply can't handle raunchiness. But if you're going to a standup comedy set, most people expect and welcome raunchiness, when it's properly executed.
 
When Oakerson ended his bit about friendship between men and women, he was able to do so with a hilarious story about a slippery slope of blowjobs and butt fucking between himself and his friend Jay if they were to just "fool around." It worked because it finally pushed the concept further than just "guys want to fuck girls" and brought it back to himself. Same with his bit about child abuse, retarded children, and his 12-year-old daughter "able to take a punch like Rihanna." Once again these jokes didn't land and the audience was blamed with a "I feel judgement from this crowd," and then later deflecting blame with the good old "I'm just talking shit," with a shrug. While I agree there are certain concessions offered to comedians, those concessions are automatically negated when you go for the cheap laughs.
 
But again, once he brought the bit back to his own life and his daughter's "sharp farts," the laughs also returned because they weren't necessarily at anyone's expense.
 
Oakerson probably should have ended his set at this point, but instead he finished the night with a whole section on being intimidated by black women sexually, loving black dick porn (actually it was more that he loves black dick gangbangs…) and then proceeded to imitate a sassy black woman. Because seeing a fat white man stereotypically mock another race and accent obviously never gets old. It was moments like these that made the whole set thoroughly uneven.
 
Thankfully Oakerson was preceded by local comedian Morgan O'Shea, primed the crowd with a short and hilarious set. His observations about stoned stories vs. drunk stories was spot on, highlighting the ridiculousness of Canada's stance on weed legalization. Threw in a few jabs about Toronto and Laval for good measure. Got sidetracked by a divisive bit about his small dick and training regiment to increase the size of his urethra (it was actually pretty funny, just lacking a bit in execution). Faltered hard when he got nervous and went in for cheap jokes about powdered alcohol and killing hookers. And then ended on a strong note about the CRA and unemployment. I'll try to remember his set over Oakerson's.