Last night, Reef, the weekend home of drunk, dancing bachelorette parties, was transformed into a comedy club.
Folding chairs lined the dance floor and they—like every other seat in the house with a view of the stage—were occupied as hundreds of Bob and Tom Show listeners (which airs locally on 96.9 The Eagle) crowded in to see stand-up comic Costaki Economopoulos in his one-night engagement.
More after the jump ...
While initially, Reef might seem like an odd place to see comedy, without a dedicated comedy club in town (Why? Why? Why don't we have a comedy club in Boise?), any place with a stage and a mic can be transformed—Liquid, Rose Room, Neurolux and Sockeye Grill all host this spoken-word art form.
The crowd was amped, the sound was perfect and the show started on time. Featured comic Dax Jordan, a tall gangly fellow who hails from Portland, Ore., riffed on subjects we've heard before: buying a pregnancy test at the dollar store, the proliferation of vampire and werewolf stories, not wanting to shop at Best Buy because he looks like a geeky employee and people stop and ask him questions, the snobs who pronounce Target as "Tar-zhay" and the vast number of Chinese people.
Like a formulaic pop song, it was a little too easy to guess what the punchline was going to be on some of Jordan's jokes, although he did have a few zingers.
"They're putting chips in kids' heads now so that you can track them with GPS and find them if they ever get lost. Well, you can find the head anyway."
When Economopoulos took the stage, his laid-back demeanor made him immediately likable and for fans of his weekly "Economonologue" on the Bob and Tom Show, it must have felt like they were reuniting with an old friend. With one hand either tucked in the pocket of his jeans, raking through his curly brown hair or pushing his glasses back up on his nose, he was more like the favorite neighbor who comes over to watch football every weekend than a radio star.
Economopoulos did his great bit about how Oprah told parents to be careful letting their kids have marshmallows since they're a choking hazard. He suggested that kids who can't survive marshmallows may not be necessary.
"He's not going to grow up to cure cancer. He's not going to survive the pencil. We should deliver marshmallows to all of our children as an evolutionary speedbump."
Early on in his set, Economopoulos seemed as genuinely taken with the audience as they were with him. That might have been why in about the middle of his set, he said, "I wasn't going to tell you guys this so early and I'm not really sure how to say this but ... um ... I'm suddenly single."
Economopoulous had been in a seven-year relationship with fellow comic Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage WItch) and they have a young daughter together. While revealing information like that can definitely allow for an audience to feel a close connection with a performer, it actually got awkward and a little maudlin for a bit. It seemed an uncomfortably long time before Economopoulos dialed the energy back up again.
Ultimately, it was a real treat to see the "biggest name in comedy" live, especially in light of the fact that the performance took place in an island-themed restaurant instead of a traditional, dark, smoky comedy club. Maybe the next time he comes to town (and he will be back), there will be enough distance between him and his failed relationship that both he and his audience will be able to find it a little funnier.