Just like any kind of live entertainment, there is always that percentage of chance, that there are will be lulls and dips in the kind of high-quality performances by talents. First, there are external and internal stresses that are undeniably a daily part of a performer. Second, there are times when performers are just not enthusiastic about a crowd, a setting, etc. And there are times when there it’s just a bad day, bad karma, un-lucky atmosphere.
For every ambition of an artist and performer, there are double the stresses and expectations.
After all, deciding to become a Professional at your chosen field of work, is a Statement of Ambition.
In our daily review life here at comeherefloyd (CHF), we’ve been so very happy to cross paths with performers who stake their claim in Music and Comedy. Everyone we’d crossed had been so very talented, so very ambitious.
In comedy, it’s a risky business move on the individual to take part. Like any profession or entrepreneurship an individual decides to traverse, risks always follow. Whether starting out, or whether being a leader in a particular market – risk is a standard – only scale of risk and reward fluctuates as the days and years go by.
On a Rainy night in good ol’ Asbury Park, the stage again was set for another HAGS Comedy show, which is produced by the duo of comedians, Joe McAndrew and JC Hendricks. Every couple of times a month, they host a Music and Comedy live entertainment show. The expectations is always high from the two producers, and rightly so. The ticketed event ($5 per entry) has been consistent in the kinds of local interest and the consistency of attendance has been noted. The magically interesting characteristics even seeps into the booking process of talented comics, McAndrew and Hendricks, stamps into each show.
This night, the ‘outrageously-action-packed’ evening was featuring some of the area’s most interesting and popular comics. Comics included: Justin Flanagan, Kate Nichols, Jacob Vernick, Jay Hernanez, Luke Touma, Gordon Baker Bone, Sean McDonough, and Matt Jenkins. And the crowd successfully managed to get one more of those ‘Crow’s Feet’ wrinkles this night. As well, the crowd became ‘perfect bit fodder’, as many of the comics targeted and prodded many of the attending audience members.
And we dug that to bits.
At the beginning of the show, the local indie-dad-rock-pop band Scooter Brothers entertained the crowd, with a set that featured their latest songs from previous individual releases. The songs from their end of 2017 digitally released EP ‘Lookin’ Good’ were featured, with one new single that is to be released “possibly later this year”. We call them ‘dad-rock’ but they are in life, just out of graduating and/or have already graduated college.
With cargo shorts, colorful running sneakers, button ups over white t-shirts took us into high-school battle-of-the-bands territory. But the crowd seemed to dig their often ‘chaotic’ nature of their play. However, we’re eager to see how it goes for their musical ambitions, in the near future.
Kudos guys. Keep on, keepin’ on!
The band consists of: Tony Diaz (bass, vox), Ronak Nair (drums), Landen Naphtali (guitar, vox, keys), and Jacob Vernick (guitar, vox).
He calls himself ‘Oz’. And this night he came on the stage with the attitude and affectionate grandeur: a comic with a gay sibling and thoughts about the immediate world he holds. His ‘conversational’ style of comedy is easy to ‘hold on to’ and is ready accessible. It’s a good combination. He’s like the best friend who you love to have banter inside your car, driving to the bars, on a Spring night (Just like this night). As for Jacob Vernick, he seems to be testing out the waters of the entertainment world, for he’s one of the members of the aforementioned band Scooter Brothers. His comedy seems to be driving fast to a level that (we’re sure) he’d want to reach. His approach and confessions on his relationship with an older girlfriend was on the plate, where she (in the crowd) seemed to be wholly okay with. Their 2 year plus relationship seems to be headed right up ‘Entertainment-Way’. Both seemed very proud and they should be. Now for his parents (also in the crowd), we weren’t sure, but like supportive family members took it all with smiles. Go,go Parents.
Luke Touma is as expressive and animated a comic as Oz was as well. He uses his limbs to depict the oddly funny situations from his youth, and current exploits. His talent surely is rooted in the method of delivery, and we fabulously was two-thumbs up on it all. The session was quick, but lots of laughs, for sure. Jay Hernandez had his ‘awkward’ hat on this particular evening, with the seemingly ‘mis-placed’ pauses and self deprecating glares, amplified his comic prowess. His physical height (one of his long bits) is inconsequential versus his comedy.
Kate Nichols was just ‘ON’ this night and most enjoyable to listen to. She ‘clicked’ with us. Her jokes hit the right chords. She is a quick witted comic with sharp comebacks, and fast-to-grasp-opportunities performer. Like a Boss. Like a Lioness. Her deliberate delivery style and jokes with definitive ‘hand-of-stone’ (and satisfactory) punch-lines. But Her very ‘affectionate’, and ‘relatable’ anecdotes of human fallibilities and ‘quirks’ made the crowd laugh hard and fast. The glamorously chic lady of yucks took the stage and won many fans. Including CHF.
Gordon Baker Bone is a veteran of many shows and is part of DECEPTICOMICS. He’s also the host to couple of northern NJ comedy shows, including at PORTA restaurant in Jersey City. We all appreciated his presence to make the crowd laugh with his stories of ‘sex’, ‘odd attractions’, and ‘relationships’. It never gets old and the audience never knew what hit them. Heck yea. Gordon also runs ‘The Big 10’ at Stress Factory (New Brunswick, NJ) and ‘Culture Vultures Comedy Show’ at Porta (Jersey City, NJ).
Sean McDonough’s set was a bit short, in our eyes. Seemed like he had places to go, but the time he was on, it was certainly enjoyable. The conversational style of McDonough is always a plus with us, but we wished he’d had more to offer this night. Justin Flanagan has a distinctive and ‘skeptical’ style of delivery. Double it with his aesthetics and his voice, it’s a shotgun act with triple barrels of fun. This night he was amply okay with taking what he saw in this audience, then just spewing some ass-kicking in part. And we were well satisfied with his stories and antics. Understated delivery of absolute non-sensical situations, is where he lived this night.
Matt Jenkins is as steady as that video game you try to play every day. Yes. You get killed consistently and often. And this night Jenkins was smooth, with his delivery and jokes; caramel-y and buttery gooey-ness was on the menu. Then that caramel got stuck at the back of our molars and we didn’t care. His ‘sly’ smile of acceptance and ‘you’ll be okay, although you’re weird’ kind of karma, struck the crowd’s funny bones, hard. The ‘Highlander’ quickening had nothing on Jenkins this night. Whatever that means. LOL.
Hendricks and McAndrew does bits to support their guest performers. And they are funny. This night, JC’s Hawaiian shirt was the bomb. And it kicked the show into gear quickly. Joe’s high energy delivery style is always a great addition to any occasion where we need some hard laughs and worry-free get-away minutes. JC loves ‘Monster Trucks’ and very jealous of the vehicles for their stardom. Joe wants you to be happy, and he’s happiest when you’re happy watching his show. Both are the hosts with the mostest, and we’re glad they’re doing what they’re doing.
More Hawaiian shirts JC!