Nick Swardson gave the world the Razzie-nominated Bucky Larson, a movie about a guy with a small dick who wants to be a porn star, and also the brilliantly hilarious roller-skating prostitute Terry from Comedy Central's Reno 911!. Those two opposing brands of humor (read: one is not funny, the other is), both of which showed up in last night's Just for Laughs performance at the Vic, explain my conflicted assessment of Swardson as a comedian.
Emerging onstage to the strains of Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer," Swardson, wearing a T-shirt, jeans and a backward baseball cap, looked like just like his bro-heavy audience—only he's about ten years older. He's old enough that his jokes about his love of "getting hammered," day-drinking and getting high come off as sad rather than charming youthful indiscretion. And yet his description of drunk women, a well he goes to often, always wanting disgusting shots in flavors like "peanut butter burrito" that'll leave you "hungover for a month" got genuine laughs. I gotta hand it to the guy: His impersonation of a drunk Trixie is dead-on. Another bit that started off irritating and offensive (ladies: don't get mad when guys yell and leer at you when you go jogging in a sports bra and shorts because you're asking for it if you're dressed that way) still managed to redeem itself when Swardson offered an alternative: men booing women as they jogged by.
The only story he told that truly killed covered a subject not exactly new in the comedy world: Cats are assholes. Yet his telling of the night he tried to make friends with his mom's new feline only to have the cat viciously attack him was Swardson at his best: self-deprecating, and doing hilarious impressions and sound effects with perfect timing. Even the bros found it funny—perhaps because Swardson mentioned he was high and drunk when the incident happened.