Published Aug 19, 2016It's kind of weird that Tom Papa isn't a bigger deal. A quick, smart observational comic, ace storyteller, radio and TV host (Boom!), and actor (The Informant!, Behind the Candelabra), he is possibly best known for hosting two seasons of his friend Jerry Seinfeld's ill-fated NBC celebrity panel show, The Marriage Ref. But to comedy fans, he's truly in a league of his own when it comes to standup.
Directed by Rob Zombie, who stylizes the opening as a classic freak and geek show, with Papa strolling out in a suit and fedora like a gangster, Live in New York City, a 2012 Comedy Central special, is a masterful display of rapid fire anecdotes. Papa takes on Facebook and the weirdness it conjures between people, the fleetingness of happiness and why it's important to drink. A large and rewarding section about marriage and parenthood is provocative and inarguably funny.
Papa has a swagger and is a classic man's man in a charming and endearing way. He's a no guff guy in a world full of it and, in his act, which features some clever doses of physicality, he strolls above the hubbub with an eagle eye for how absurd life almost always is. Every joke is fine-tuned and lands with graceful execution for one of the smartest sets one might hope for.
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