8/06/11- John Oliver at the Borgata in Atlantic City
Newsflash: Urgent, Breaking News:
JOHN OLIVER IS FUNNY.
I said it. And I won't take it back.
Last night a very good friend of mine surprised me with a belated Birthday present of epic proportions. Instead of going to our local drive-in as we'd planned, he informed me we were heading somewhere else that we had to leave super early for. After a two-hour ride to New Jersey, I remained completely in the dark over why he had a sudden urge to visit the Garden State. We made it all the way into the lobby of the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City before I saw my first of many giant HD screens with John Oliver displayed on it.
I stood before it and my brain erupted into a kaleidoscope of Skittles and english muffins.
Before jumping into the greatness that is John Oliver, I'm going to take a brief moment to discuss my first impressions of Atlantic City from the belly of a major casino. My douchebag quotient for the next month has been filled. It was an odd mix of an open casting call for the 'Jersey Shore' intermingled with those who in the end shall have slot machine handles pried from their cold, dead hands. I've never been around so much crippling sadness, desperation and polar opposite ends of the weight gain/loss problems spectrum. Oliver opened his set by saying something to effect of his fans were probably those who rushed through the overblown glamor and shiny lights to get to the theater as quickly as possible. Truer words have never been spoken.
Mike Lawrence was the opening comedian, who some should remember from this years' season of 'John Oliver's New York Stand Up Show'. If this man isn't headlining his own shows in a big bad way in a couple months, there is no justice. He was hands-down one of the best openers I've seen in a long time. He matched John's type of humor perfectly and was a welcome way to start the show.
Because the show was in a casino, the Atlantic City crowd was pretty evenly divided between those that were there only to see Oliver and the casino goers that were comp'd tickets and were obviously of a...different demographic, let's say. Not his usual audience to put it lightly, so some of their jokes about politics didn't go over as well as they could have. A couple of word play jokes that required a brief amount of thought went over some heads as well, but casino gigs are notorious for being polarized like that. That just meant his fans had to step it up and clap and laugh louder, which we did, but no less awkwardly as he liked to point out during the course of the evening. It was the sign of a true professional the way he was able to roll with an obviously divided audience.
I'm not going to delve into John's specific jokes, but I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Topics ranged from losing our status as an empire to seeing our dad's penises. For those familiar with his 'Terrifying Times' special, few of those jokes were repeated with most of his material being fresh and new. And it looked like he was writing a couple of new jokes on the way to the gig in response to the S&P credit rating news over the weekend which was very cool to see how quickly he's able to come up with new material.
If John Oliver is playing anyway remotely near you, for the love of kittens, go see his stand up. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why the phrase "fuck-knuckle" sounds so adorable when said in a British accent.
Page Branson 2011