Matt Braunger's comedy combines two contrasting but unstoppable forces: cleverly detailed writing, and the raw funniness and relatability of humiliation. Together, they make comedy that is constructed with impressive technical grace, yet makes you laugh as uninhibitedly as you do when your friend does something dumb that catches you off guard. It's only February, but this show is surely going to be one of the best of the year.
Though Braunger's mastery outshone the comedians that performed before him, the openers for the show were all enjoyable. Host Luke Gordon Field riffed about his broken mic stand and his mic cutting in and out with comically relaxed confidence, plus he amused the crowd with his bit about quitting his job as a lawyer to pursue comedy. Carol Zoccoli also did well with her material about how any white male comedian who doesn't make it "Louis CK level big" is a failure because they have so much privilege in comparison to her. Additionally, she talked about being a Brazilian immigrant, and wittily complained that Tim Hortons coffee is so watery that Nestle is going to steal it. Rebecca Reeds then finished off the opening of the show by complaining about her parents pressuring her to have kids no matter what. Her delivery was enthusiastic, and the way she related her parents' desperation was slightly unsettling yet funny.
Matt Braunger's hour was chockfull of hysterical stories. From his epic tale about ordering pizza while insanely high on mushrooms to his story about accidentally putting his fingers in a stranger's mouth, Braunger had the audience in stitches with unpredictable silly and sharp twists. Be sure to catch him at Comedy Bar this weekend in Toronto before he goes back to the U.S. This show is not to be missed.