The Laughing Skull welcomes comedian Greg Proops. Being best known for his appearances on TV’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Drew Carey’s Improvaganza, this San Francisco native with his distinctive heavy rimmed glasses and blond pompadour evokes a modern-day Buddy Holly. He is also a seasoned comedian, political commentator, voice actor, regularly appears on TV shows, and hosts his own podcast, “The Smartest Man in the World.”
Although audiences are most likely familiar with Proops’ improv performances, his stand-up is where his comedic skills truly shine as he proved on stage last night.
Unlike most comedians, Proops goes out of his way to avoid a tightly scripted show. Although his stable of canned material is fresh and viciously funny, he clearly relishes interaction with the audience and free form storytelling. Like a jazz performer, Proops’ spontaneous remarks and off the cuff observations means an audience will never see the same show twice.
Proops’ jokes cover an eccentric range of targets, with mainstays such as political commentary, pop culture and local references, along with an interesting blend of references to Sci-Fi, literature, and mythology. However, some of his best material includes a number of gleeful attacks on hallowed southern institutions such as college football, religion, NASCAR, and home cooking.
One of Proops’ most notable skills is his audience give and take. He is acutely aware of when his jokes land or bomb, or if he has pushed a sensitive subject to far, and instead of trying to curry audience favor, he doubles down and mocks the audience’s fickleness and failure to supply ample laughter, and surprisingly, you just can’t help but love him for it.
Although the majority of jokes are intellectual, it’s a mistake to call his show high-brow, as he gleefully points out the merits of beating children and the sasquatchian hairiness of the Kardashian sisters. I laughed. A lot. As did everyone else. Do yourself a favor and see the show, just try to keep up.
Greg Proops is at the Laughing Skull Lounge, at 8:00pm and 10:30pm until December 3th.
He will also be doing a live taping of his hit podcast, “The Smartest Man in the World,” on Sunday Dec 4, 2011 7:00 PM.