Littlefield Theater’s Butterboy showcase featured its co-host Maeve Higgins on Monday, August 13th. Higgins has written a new comedy memoir, and with due loyalty Littlefield pulled out all the stops by burning the house down – Littlefield even made a cake for the host! Critics who are steadfast admirers will rejoice to see the club fill its 200 seats, and even flush the bar area with six or seven rows of standing crowds.
The show started with MC’s Higgins and Kevin Townley warming up the crowd. Naturally, attendees were excited to hear about Higgins’ new memoir Maeve in America. Higgins and Townley volleyed about Broadway showtunes, gentrification, and immigration. Townley and Higgins were incredible at trading roles of being flamboyant or being deadpan, and they were fluid and fast with one-liners. Said Townley about the successful show, “It’s so much fun to spend time with people you like and have so much laughs. It’s the biggest treat.”
The first comedian of the night, Julia Rossi, had impeccable timing. The comedian wore loud, outrageous flaming orange pants and a jean jacket. Rossi had a very funny bit about how every description of marijuana sales features a high that will make a person both creative and relaxed. “Where can I get some weed for something specific, like the feeling that my dad is proud of me?” Rossi said. The audience erupted in laughter like the 2018 Hawaiian volcano crisis.
The next performer of the night was Joyell Nicole Johnson. Johnson has recently appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers and she had a hilarious bit here about how her roommate doesn’t know how to clean up after himself. In her jokes that landed the hardest, Johnson talked about a creepy Tindr date who wanted Johnson to make him a cuckold. Johnson then went on the date and told the man cuckolds don’t actually enjoy being cheated on. She told him he really wants to be a “wittole,” happy to make this creepy just a bit more enlightened in his perversions!
Todd Barry came on following Johnson. Barry mentioned his Netflix special and asked if anyone had seen it yet. Barry’s laconic and laid-back persona pushed the laughs into the stratosphere and forced the audience to consider how truly ridiculous life can be. One man peed his pants laughing during the Todd Barry set toward the back of the audience. Another audience member, Mike, an administrator at a career school in Staten Island said, “I love that Todd Barry was here. I love that for the price it is [this show] it rivals the best shows in the city.”
Janelle James started out on stage with references describing her dad’s favorite brand of Chuck Norris “action jeans,” – perfect for side-kicks and regular practice of nun chucks in the mirror. James, who like Barry is coming off of a successful Netflix special, talked about the current political climate without getting bogged down in the quagmire of emotions. James said people who are cheerful all of the time are creepy and end up being revealed as serial killers with “bodies in the basement.” James might be called a murderer in her own way – her sketch about her son buying movie concessions killed. Sharon Miller, from Washington, DC, was in the audience and said after the show, “I think Janelle struck an emotional chord that really resonated with the audience. Being a millennial, and growing up in the ‘80’s, I loved all of her references to pop culture.”
The following comedian was Michelle Bouteau. Bouteau had a spirited and passionate performance. When a heckling drunk woman cheered for Bouteau, Bouteau immediately and expertly put the heckler in her place, by doing a spot-on impression. Bouteau used physical humor and rhetorical strategy in surprising ways, often by mixing the two. A rant about adults who can’t pick themselves up after they fall, who milk their sadness for Instagram and Facebook, ended with Bouteau literally bouncing back from her own fall. Resilience means peace-of-mind, but it also might mean higher promise of success, as Bouteau said she was on the set of a major motion picture at the time. Bouteau is a tremendous and talented actress, and it’s inspiring to think of what she’ll do next.
The last man of the night was Shane Torres, who like the rest of the night’s comedians has achieved an incredible amount of success. Torres was featured twice – most recently March of this year – on television’s Conan O’Brien late night show. Torres told the story as a New York City triumph, however when Torres ran into the subway to shout his joy to the world when he found out he was going to be on late night television, a homeless man coughed into his mouth. At this point in his monologue, the crowd at Littlefield groaned and wretched in disgust! This was side-splitting to the Littlefield audience. Torres is similar to Janelle James because he addressed problems of masculinity, and both comedians lost their parents. Likewise, Torres showed grace and honored his mother by pursuing his dreams. In this way, Torres brought up a sensitive emotional topic – his mother’s death – in a way, that honored her memory and combined gravity and humor that built emotional tension with definite comic relief. This is a comedian to look out for in the future.
In conclusion, come on out to the Littlefield Theater in Gowanus on Monday nights for a night of great laughs and top talent. One of the hosts, Maeve Higgins, continues to impress and tonight was no different. Her new book is sure to be very successful.