With April Fools’ Day approaching, students may want to celebrate with some stand-up comedy and a few laughs.
Yet, with all the stand-up specials, albums, podcasts and live performances it can be downright exhausting to discover new comedians.
The Oracle looks at a few notable stand-up comics and their comedic methods.
Like comedian Jim Gaffigan, Maria Bamford employs multiple voices in her stand-up performances to illustrate her confessional observations and dysfunctions.
These personalities can range from the high, haughty voices of office co-workers to the shuddering intonations of insecurities.
Bamford was also featured in the documentary “The Comedians of Comedy” alongside Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt and Zach Galifianakis, in a comedy tour before all of their film and TV successes.
University of Florida graduate and stand-up comedian Todd Barry has a dry, sarcastic style that is simultaneously hilarious and deflating to listeners’ expectations.
Barry’s 2001 album “Medium Energy” has an astounding 55 tracks, but many are less than a minute long. Topics covered range from gym renewals to girls’ possible soybean tattoos.
The comedian has also made efforts to connect with the indie-rock scene by cracking jokes about Fugazi or Wilco, appearing in the New Pornographers’ “Moves” music video and opening for bands in concert venues rather than comedy clubs.
Louis C.K. started in the ’90s New York comedy scene as a lightly absurdist stand-up and late-night show writer, but it arguably wasn’t until his aptly-titled 2005 television special “Shameless” that he reinvented himself as every comedian’s envy.
The comedian decided he would write an original hour of stand-up every year and then never tell the jokes again, and with bits like calling his daughter an “a——” to express his struggles as a new parent, it was inevitable the material would get attention.
C.K. also scored an unheard of amount of creative control on his FX television show “Louie,” which consists of vignettes like a poker table discussion on gay sex and Tom Noonan acting as a creepy expert on Christ’s crucifixion.
Marc Maron came from the same comedy era as C.K., performed stand-up in small clubs and hosted two canceled Air America shows before finally finding success with the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron.”
The show’s format consists of Maron talking about himself for about 15 or 20 minutes before a long interview with a particular comedian on their trade – Maron often starts by apologizing to or explaining why he initially didn’t like the guest.
Prominent guests have included C.K., Ben Stiller and Dane Cook and the podcast is regularly among iTunes’ most downloaded. Yet, Maron remains a wonderfully neurotic and revealing stand-up comic on stage as well.
Paul F. Tompkins
While these other comedians are consciously alternative, dark or profane, Paul F. Tompkins almost seems like a throwback in his dapper suits and comic material that includes smashed pennies and cake versus pie.
Yet the funnyman has been part of the alternative comedy scene since the sketch show “Mr. Show,” and his work at Los Angeles’ UCB Theatre, which resulted in a wonderfully powerful, poignant bit about his mother’s death.
Tompkins ranks among the stand-up comics making names for themselves through podcast appearances – both on his own “The Pod F. Tompkast” and appearances on “The Best Show,” “Doug Loves Movies” and “Comedy Death-Ray.”