Peter Smith

Peter Smith’s Event Journal

3rd Annual Comedy Countdown

Tuesday December 31, 2013 / 9:00pm
3rd Annual Comedy Countdown
4 tickets
Balcony (Sections 1-6)
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

How was your experience?

Clear I hated it I didn't like it It was OK I liked it I loved it!
As an avid fan of stand-up comedy, this show was unfortunately very disappointing. I’ve lived in San Francisco for over 8-years and spending a night out watching stand-up comedy at Cobb’s Comedy Club, Puchline, or even the Purple Onion is some of the best live entertainment San Francisco has to offer. However, out of the literally hundreds of stand-up shows I’ve seen, this NYE Comedy Countdown was among the worst comedy show I’ve sat through. Rather than being focused on putting on a high quality show for the audience, the structure of the event seemed to be more about having a group of comedians (with a high variance of stand-up experience) hang out backstage on New Year’s and collect a check for doing a soft 12-20 minutes of material. Imagination Radio awkwardly kicked off the night with an unfunny song about drinking beer like a baby deer. Afterwards they assisted the host with introductions, had one decent musical performance after the intermission but otherwise, they sat in plain view and whispered back and forth like a couple of 5th grade girls throughout the performance of the other comedians. It was not only disrespectful to the other performers, but also an unpleasant distraction to the audience. During his set, Rory Scovel even asked them for some melodic “church music” to punch up one of his jokes. Unfortunately, for some reason it appeared that Imagination Radio wasn’t interested Rory’s set and they ended up completely missing their cue. Even after the stage crew focused a spotlight on them to get their attention they just ended up awkwardly waiving to the crowd until Rory continued with his closing joke as if nothing happened. Although to his credit, Rory performed a great set along with Doug Benson and Bert Kreischer. Unfortunately, the laughs were so watered down by the uncomfortable, awkward, and what appeared to be inexperienced, stand-up performances from the other “comedians” (e.g. Moshe Kasher and Jessimae Peluso). Pete Holmes did what he could as the host but there wasn’t enough substance to provide anything memorable and Hannibal Buress was extraordinarily average. Moshe seems like a decent guy but his stand-up really did little to earn anything more than a mild response from what appeared to be a 70% full auditorium. Jessimae Peluso was flat out terrible and I hope she learned that there’s more to being a stand-up comedian than having an MTV show and being a cute blonde that talks “dirty”. Doug Benson and especially Bert Kreischer are hilarious comedians who appropriately should headline and close out this 2000+ person show so why only leave them 15 minutes each!?!? The audience finally got a reprieve from the earlier unfunny agony (aside from Rory) and then it’s almost immediately stripped away before you even knew it happened. I’m not surprised Natasha Leggero decided to back out last minute. I hope the organizers learn from this disappointment and are able to put on a better show next year.