Sharply-written jokes with a laid back delivery, and just a smidge of delicious awkwardness
‘What’s your favourite kind of porn?’ It’s rarely a question you want to answer, especially in a public place. Especially if that public place is a comedy gig. Especially if you’re a slightly awkward 20-year-old guy and you’ve attended said comedy gig with three female acquaintances. Unfortunately for the poor schlub in the front row, who’s already had a frank chat with Michael Che about the dearth of black people in his life, Che isn’t letting go. ‘Really, what’s your favourite kind of porn?’
The show isn’t all about probing audience members in uncomfortable places (stop sniggering), and to Che’s credit, he never does it in a mean way – his questions are delivered with the same laidback, ‘let’s just shoot the shit’ attitude as his exceedingly well-written one liners. ‘I was watching a bunch of interracial porno for Black History Month…’ is one such deadpan opener.
Indeed, it’s all so easy-going (and interspersed with a great deal of crowd work) that it’s hard to say what Che’s full show will consist of on any given night. He opens with a story about getting ejected from a bar the night before, and promises to show us the video on his phone later on. He never gets round to it, but you get the feeling he probably would’ve had the audience participation not been so fruitful. His whole show might be waiting in the wings as a safety net, but depending on how responsive the room is, you might never hear it.
The material we hear tonight is relaxed and often hilarious, with the odd moment of awkwardness thrown in to keep us on our toes. The tone is so amiable that Che even buys Jordan and his friends a round of drinks for being such good sports, which isn’t something you’ll see from a lot of comics who rib their audiences, gently or otherwise. Call it sustainable comedy – cultivating a crowd who’ll be able to recognise that interacting with a comic (when prompted, hecklers) can be fun for everyone, and not just an exercise in shame and humiliation.
Oh, and the schlub's favourite porn was lesbian, in case you’re wondering.