After a packed West Palm weekend that included the Palm Beach Craft Beer Festival and day one of Propaganda's Summer Daze concert series, I needed to sink back into normalcy by hitting up a show at the Palm Beach Improv for a little "me" time.
Admittedly, the Palm Beach Improv doesn't get the biggest comics -- even in comparison to the Fort Lauderdale Improv. And up the road, Daniel Tosh has already sold out two shows at the Kravis Center for next Sunday. But when I saw that Artie Lange was popping into town for a two-night stint, I immediately grabbed a ticket and used it to dry up my Tosh-y tears.
There wasn't a host for the night, just feature comic Chris Distefano from MTV's Guy Code as the opening act. I hope his jokes went over better on his Late Show With David Letterman debut just a few days earlier. The audience wanted Artie; they didn't want to be warmed up. Distefano made the best of it, though; his most hilarious moments resulted from playing off the cranky crowd and turning heckles into laughs.
Finally, Artie Lange took center stage. Famous for being on The Howard Stern Show and MADtv, Artie opened himself up to an entire new audience with his latest project, The Artie Lange Show. It's a live, nightly, nationally syndicated radio and TV show featured on DirectTV and airs on Real Radio 94.3 in Palm Beach County. As someone who never listened to Howard, I still found a place for Artie in my nightly routine, and I was looking forward to seeing how his jokes would translate to the stage.
The venue was surprisingly not sold out, considering I hear Lange chat about selling out arenas all the time. He opened with some jokes shitting all over CityPlace neighbor Cheescake Factory's menu. I knew then that we were in good shape, because I've always felt that place summarizes everything that is wrong with the world.
Artie took us through a little tour of his life, busting out some great one-liners and bringing up famous pals like Howard, Norm McDonald, and Nick DiPaolo. Sometimes Lange's jokes hit so big, people reacted by throwing their fists I the air like they were at a concert. Case in point: "I hate Justin Beiber so much, I would help Jerry Sandusky."
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What was really awesome about the set was that Artie stayed highly relevant, showing he is just a legitimately funny person as opposed to a comic who relies heavily on older, established jokes. Artie managed to reference everyone's new favorite butter-pushing racist Paula Deen, the early demise of James Gandolfini, and the birth of the Kimye baby, North West.
He stayed very open about his years of drug use and stint in a rehab facility located on Singer Island as well as his health issues -- important parts of his life that make Artie who he is. And before walking offstage to roaring applause, Artie left us with one more sentiment: "Tell your friends I'm back, motherfuckers!"
They already know, Artie. They already know.
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