Saturday marked a couple firsts for me. It was the first time I'd seen David Alan Grier live, and it was the first time I've ever attended the Ft. Lauderdale Improv. And neither disappointed in the least.
The Improv is a so intimate and cozy, a perfect environment for comedians to try and make you pee your panties. I'll never get the appeal of choosing an auditorium show over a club. The pure feeling of comedy in a dark, small club can never be duplicated.
I've always liked David Alan Grier, I loved DAG when I was younger, and probably would still watch it if it were easy to find. I just wasn't positive what to expect from his stand-up. I expected to hear tons of laughter, but wedding bells?
The host of the evening was Will Lopez, who came out to the smattering of applause most hosts get. But unlike a lot of hosts, he won over the audience fairly quickly. Lopez, a South Florida native, was able to connect easily with the audience, making references to one of Hialeah's most hilarious landmarks, the discount store "Ñoooo! ¡Que Barato!" (Roughly translating to: Fuck! That's cheap!). Lopez was exactly as funny as he needed to be to open the show, and he helped get the whole show going by getting the nearly dead audience clapping and howling with laughter.
Lopez then brought out Dave Siegel, who I was not familiar with at the time, but won me over pretty much instantly. He had an odd charisma that made him impossible not to like. Siegel hooked me, and the rest of the room with his offbeat style and strong punch lines. At points, he delivered line after lines of pure gold, never really giving you a chance to get your bearings before another heavy laugh caught you.
As soon DAG picked up the mic, the room was under his control. Now, I've always been familiar with Grier, how could you not be? The man has had an amazing career; his list of accomplishments is astounding. Even with that knowledge, I was just blown away by his performance. Grier may have aged the smallest bit visibly since I was a kid, but he was as energetic and relevant as he's ever been. From his love for President Obama (Even though he's been acting too "beige" for his liking) to his daughter being a pawn in his ex-wive's mind games there wasn't a single lull in laughter all night. Not to mention, he even closed the set by picking out an attractive woman from the crowd and serenaded her with a song, proving his undying devotion to her, titled "You'd be my Superbowl"
In the middle of the set, during a favorite crowd interaction bit, something unprecedented happened. He went into the audience and picked out a young couple in the front to target. He grilled them with questions about their relationship, learning that they've been together 8 months and were very much in love. Grier stopped his interrogation immediately, and asked the young man, John, to propose to his girlfriend, Alejandra.
Now, usually this bit ends with the dude not proposing, and it solidified the overall point DAG was making about relationships. But nope, not tonight. John took the microphone and started to actually propose. Which Grier interrupted to remind him he should get down on one knee for that moment. Alejandra broke down into tears and it was just such a nice feeling in the room, which immediately gave way to a series of riffs, pretty much telling the couple that they both had made giant mistakes.
The unexpected proposal, as heartwarming as it was, couldn't even knock Grier off of his game. He was so un-phased by the actual engagement, that I thought he was in on the whole thing. Just more proof that David Alan Grier is a true entertainer. Always in character. The best part of the night? There wasn't one rude, unfunny heckler in the audience. That's about as perfect a comedy night as one can every expect.