Sketchfest Review: Music Night at Cobb’s Comedy Club, 1/29/11

by Marie Carney on January 30, 2011

The real stars of Music Night: Garfunkel & Oates

I chose Music Night as my finale to a wonderful Sketchfest mostly because of my long-term fangirl love for Chris Hardwick (I even watched Shipmates back in the day, Shipmates!).  So, just like the night before for the Nerdist Podcast, I got to Cobb’s early hoping to be right up front.  I was rewarded with a front row seat for one of the best and funniest nights I’ve ever seen.  With so much talent on stage: Mike Phirman, Eli Braden, Zach Selwyn, Garfunkel & Oates, David Koechner doing 10-20 minute sets each and Chris Hardwick MC-ing, it was bound to be non-stop entertainment.

Chris Hardwick was the host of the evening and he started the show as the character Kendal Kanz (?) lead singer of 80’s metal band Sniper.  He came out on stage in lycra pants, a ripped up shirt and a ridiculous blond wig.  He explained that the band wasn’t there because of a fight, and he preceded to do three songs to recorded tracks but still did an excellent interpretation of an arena rock show.  Beginning with a song called “Beaver Hunt,” the humor was quite filthy but very funny.  More than that, it never ceases to amaze me to hear how good Chris Hardwick’s voice is. 

Chris Hardwick’s Setlist:

Beaver Hunt
I Want Your Cans
Go For It

Next up was the wonderful Mike Phirman who opened with an amazingly funny cover of the classic “What a Wonderful World.”  It was surprising to me how funny it was; yes he did a cute job of pretending to forget the chords, but I think what was the funniest was how much he could make his voice sound like Louis Armstrong.  Amazing and hilarious.  His set was much too short as I loved every song, including the video presentation for his song “Chicken Monkey Duck.”  Even better than that he showed off his creative mind by doing what seemed like a normal looped song. At first it was different guitar riffs, then he started to use uncommon objects to add looped tracks, like a well done key jingle and feedback from his iPhone.  From there it just fell into deep silliness with the sound of whooshing coming from his ear and an airplane flying overhead.  Well played Mr. Phirman.

Mike Phirman’s Setlist:

What A Wonderful World
The Old Me
Chicken Monkey Duck
Looped Song

Now the show moved on to two comedic musicians I’ve never heard of.  The first up was Eli Braden who sounded like what I would imagine Elvis Costello would sound like doing comedy music.  He was funny, but not exactly my style.  “White People’s Problems” was the highlight of his set as who doesn’t like to make fun of the richer versions of themselves?  But he lost the audience a little with a song about eating out his girlfriend while she’s on her period which in theory is funny, but since he has a beard and I have a vivid imagination, well, it was a problem.

Eli Braden’s Setlist:

White People’s Problems
My Kid
I Love You Period

Then it was Zach Selwyn who described himself as a Rapping Hillbilly Jew, which turned out to be quite accurate.  He did more stand-up between songs than the other performers had so far.  It was a little distracting at first to be able to see how nervous he was, shaking so hard that I could see the ends of his guitar strings shaking, but the nervousness made sense when his first song was a long freestyle song talking about various people in the audience.  It was funny and impressive and something I haven’t seen before.  He also was the first, and only one, to do a hilarious song about having children, closing his set with the heartfelt serious number “Get Your Dick Away From My Daughter.”

Zach Selwyn’s Setlist:

CILF (Cartoons I’d Like to Fuck)
Get Your Dick Away From My Daughter

Both Eli Braden and Zach Selwyn were standing at the door shaking hands and talking to the audience as we left.  It was a really nice touch and made me like them just that much more.

Now when Chris Hardwick came out to introduce the next act he took the time to play us another song, this time dressed in a new outfit and wielding a guitar.  Although our editor Gordon wouldn’t approve, he did a cover of Cee Lo’s “Fuck You” which I found surprising and funny, though I will admit I’m, let’s say selective, about my pop culture, so I didn’t know the song, which might have made it better than it would have been otherwise. Of course, it made more sense if you knew the  act he was introducing who have a song of the same name.

Then it was time for the fabulous and adorable Garfunkel & Oates.  By the cheer of the crowd, this was obviously who everyone was here to see.  The duo is Riki “Garfunkel” Lindhome on guitar and Kate “Oates” Micucci on ukulele.  We were treated to what was essentially a Garfunkel & Oates greatest hits set with the added fun of some stories about how they came up with the songs in between.  Both girls were charming, but Kate Micucci used her facial expressions almost like another character bringing a laugh with each change to her expression.  The two had great chemistry together and seemed to really enjoy performing which always adds to my enjoyment of a show.

Of course, they brought the most raccous audience reaction with their closing song “I Don’t Understand Job.”  Putting down the instruments and doing quite a bit of dancing, some of which was choreographed.  Of course, since he was there, Chris Hardwick took the opportunity to run out on stage when he was name dropped in the song.  The best part of it though was the story they told before of how they wrote the song on an airplane next to some poor older woman.  I can see it now and it is so, so funny.

Garfunkel & Oates Setlist:

Worst Song Medley
Weed Card
Pregnant Women Are Smug
Sex With Ducks
Gay Boyfriend
I Don’t Understand Job

The last act was David Koechner who began his set with about five minutes of stand-up about his kids.  You may have noticed from previous reviews, or the previous performers, that this is a young and nerdy audience and jokes about kids fell pretty flat.  Then he went into a character named Roy who was an overweight flaming gay man with the catchphrase “Aren’t I the worst!?!”  Again, it felt like this act was for a different audience, possibly not in San Francisco.  He then brought out Mike Phirman to back him up while he played a different character: a hobo from a small town in Missouri.  Here he did two songs, the best of which was introduced as a spiritual entitled “Two Pennies for My Loafers” but turned out to be called, what I can only assume from the refrain, “Two Dollars and a Handjob.”

David Koechner’s Setlist:

My Dad is an Astronaut
Two Dollars and a Hand Job

At the end Chris Hardwick came back out to say good night and give us a last chance to applaud for our favorites.  This time when the roar erupted for Garfunkel & Oates, Chris looked taken aback and made a comment of surprise.  But by this time, we were all clearly on team Garfunkel & Oates and will be eagerly awaiting them coming back to do a full set.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eli Braden January 31, 2011 at 4:46 am

Hi! Thanks for the tempered, but still quite kind and complimentary, words! Really glad you enjoyed the show!

🙂 eLi B


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