When faces from the '80s reappear on club stages, people go to see them for myriad reasons: nostalgia, curiosity, freebies, etc. Whether it was a love for Bobcat Goldthwait or the flood of complimentary tickets handed out, the line for the show started at the Knitting Factory door wound down the alley and around the corner onto Broad Street.
Goldthwait knew that a few folks came only because of the freebies, but as long as they tipped their waitstaff well, he didn't seem to mind.
The night opened with a set by local stand-up Leil Cardoza who worked through technical issues like a pro, yelling jokes to an amused crowd after the sound cut out for the umpteenth time. Once his mic was steadily working, Cardoza's material about his giant head, the origin of his odd name and his hippie parents, kept the fidgety audience laughing and relatively focused.
L.A.-based John Evans had some of the funniest material of the night, the crowd laughing hard enough at some of the punchlines that it was tough to hear the set-up of the next joke. In a low, nearly deadpan voice, Evans talked about Phillip Morris, ("They own Marlboro cigarettes, Miller beer and Kraft cheese. What kind of an unhealthy triad is that?) medical marijuana, Guitar Hero and the Snuggie. ("We Americans are so lazy, we invented a blanket with sleeves.")
Evans is scheduled to play Hijinx in September.
When Goldthwait, dressed in baggy jeans, an ill-fitting faded black T-shirt and a plaid cotton driving cap, took the stage, the crowd briefly exploded. One they settled, Goldthwait--whose screaming alter ego went the way of his long hair--spent the better part of the next hour telling jokes, stories and answering to good-natured hecklers.
Goldthwait's Michael Jackson jokes particularly punched the demographically diverse crowd's collective funny bone, but it was when he told a story that he really drew everyone in. When he talked about meeting Johnny Depp and Paul Reubens on the set of Blow, even the rowdy row of cowboys, the drunk bald man who set a beer on the stage in front of Goldthwait even though the comic-turned-writer-and-director explained he doesn't drink any more, and the guy who repeated Goldthwait's jokes seconds after Goldthwait delivered them, just listened and laughed.