Duncan Trussell Royal Cinema, Toronto ON, April 16
Published Apr 17, 2016If you ever want to see someone who embodies "hippie comedy" in the best way possible, look no further than Duncan Trussell. After getting the audience to chant "om" as he travelled around the entire theatre to spread the smell of incense, Trussell charmed the audience with his amusing hour of openhearted stories, unorthodox observational bits, and optimistic life advice.
Mikey Kampmann started the show with his quirky standup that included a joke where he approached the microphone stand like a boxer, as well as a bunch of bits with ridiculous and often intentionally copious music cues that were interesting, but didn't consistently play well to the crowd. Manolis Zontanos followed with his more mainstream anecdotes about what prostate exams are like, and how he got in an awkward situation after his nephew told his teacher that his uncle demonstrated how to use a condom for him.
Finally, Shane Torres blew the first two comedians out of the water with his consistently hysterical set. The Texan who recently appeared on Conan got many of the night's biggest laughs with his opening line about how he looks like a Native American Meatloaf impersonator, his account of how he was forced to absorb his dead father;s debt, and his comparison of eating Cinnabon to masturbating. He then closed with a series of even better jokes that made his performance stand out as the best opening set I've seen in years. His bit about how homeschoolers are like real life aliens was flat-out genius, and his anecdote about a ridiculously entitled guy who told everyone in line in a packed post office to move aside for him was incredible. Likewise, his story about having sex with a girl who loved to do over-the-top dirty talk directly after he found out his grandmother died was equally amazing. Torres is seriously one to watch out for.
Trussell's hour was packed with talk of psychedelia. During his set, he hilariously retold the legend behind Bicycle Day, the day where the creator of LSD tried his invention for the first time at what is now known to be 30 times the recommended dose, plus he told several of his own stories about psychedelic experiences. In addition, Trussell did several bits that were clearly influenced by drugs, such as pitching humans as if they were a new creation, his portrayal of computers as an evolution of a synthetic species, and his comical but frightening interpretation of a Christian hymn.
In a similar vein, he did some material based on drug-inspired concepts such as the idea that time is speeding up as a result of the Singularity, as well as the idea that you should live your life as if, on your death bed, you were granted to chance to live your life again without the mistakes you made the first time. It wasn't a gut-bustingly funny performance, but no one minded because whether you were as high as the flailing hippies in the second row or as sober as I was, Trussell was definitely a trip.