I’ve been to Sixth & I Synagogue plenty of times to see comedy and every person has commented on the sanctity of the place. Michael Ian Black, Marc Maron, Nick Kroll, Kevin Smith, they’ve all mentioned to varying degrees of length about how weird it is to tell dick jokes and other possibly-locationally-awkward humor in a place of worship. However at Chanu-Comedy – which took place on the final night of Hanukkah – was the first time something actually…Jewish happened at one of these shows. And by the end of the night, I had seen one of my favorite comics marry two people in the final hours of Hanukkah, long after the candles on the stage Manurah had gone out.
But I’ll get to the comedy show wedding in a minute.
The evening started with the three performers of the night, Eugene Mirman, Kurt Braunohler and Derrick Brown, taking to the stage together to light the candles of the Menorah. Braunohler asked what happens when the candles go out, to which the answer is of course that he gets a wish granted.
Derrick Brown started off asking what time it was. After an audience member gave him the correct time Brown announced, “Nope, it’s romance time! Hit it Derrick!” He proceeded to play some romantic music on his MacBook while reading some of his hilarious, and often moving, poetry. He read four great poems that including one called “A List of Places You Should Never Kiss Someone.” He told stories about how he likes to yell “You’re beautiful” at different sailors while on his boat “Sea Section.” His finale, a poem he wrote on his way to DC entitled “Hey Kid,” was quite sweet with occasional funny moments.
Kurt Braunohler, who I had seen last year on the Comedy Bang! Bang! tour, came away as one of the highlights of the evening. His set has many great moments of stories about weird discoveries, like finding masturbation at the age of 12 by fucking McDonald’s apple pies and realizing he’s horrible at open bars. The last time he was at an open bar he blacked out and later discovered he had gone to see Frankenweenie 3D. Braunohler’s stand up has a nice conversational style and each joke has some fantastic punch to it that makes him an amazing stand up that more people should check out.
But finally came Eugene Mirman, who had just had dental surgery, but still made it. Mirman’s set is a combination of anecdotes and weird ideas, like Facebook messaging celebrities for the price of $100 a pop. He’s asked John Boehner if he’d like to go on a LSD-infused road trip and messaged Justin Bieber just to say good job.
Mirman has these great, surreal moments that are almost too awesome to be believe, like when he got a $15 parking ticket in New Hampshire and proceeded to take out a full page ad in a local magazine to rant about his outrage. He also tells a great story about going to Mexico, eating a taco that had a wasp in it and getting mugged by two cops with Michael Stipe that sounds like it could only be made up by someone, well, on a LSD trip with Boehner.
Near the end of the set Mirman showed a clip from his un-aired Comedy Central pilot, Eugene. In it, he programs a TV network with some brilliant shows, such as the game show How Much Money Can You Eat?, a hidden camera show called Horseback Surprise and his own talk show, where John Hodgman guests and shows a clip from his movie where he beats the shit out of a kidnapper. The show seemed like it had promise and it’s a shame it didn’t get a chance, but I imagine the audience for people that think John Hodgman: Action Star is hilarious is quite slim.
Then came the marriage. Apparently Mirman, in between Facebooking celebrities and ranting at New Hampshire traffic cops, became licensed to marry people in about 40 of the 50 states. He asked if anyone wanted to get married, to which of course no one responds at first, but then a willing couple comes on the stage. It’s more of a great bit than an actual wedding, where Mirman’s vows include the man swearing he’ll bury his anger and for the woman to consider trying butt stuff, but there’s still a distinct possibility that these two were for real married on stage by the guy who voices Gene on Bob’s Burgers and that’s amazing.