Throughout my comedy career I’ve seen many inspiring performances, probably too many to count. Long ago I threw my friend Dave to the wolves by making him open for me at a Balkan Folk Music fund-raiser. Although Dave ate terrible, terrible shit, he did so gamely, never sacrificing his dignity on the alter conveniently placed behind him. It was inspiring to see someone stand tall regardless of the circumstances.
If I had to choose the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen from a comedian, though, it would be T.J. Miller’s recent set at the Comedy Works here in Denver. He was only doing 15 minutes at the end of the show, and when he came out the crowd was tired and antsy. About one minute in he mentioned he had been in the film Yogi Bear, and a woman in the crowd interrupted him with, “What’s your point?” The crowd around her booed, but T.J. hushed them: “Don’t worry, I’m about to verbally ruin her.”
T.J. Miller’s photo from his Twitter profile @NotTJMiller
And then he did just that. I won’t do his performance the disservice of trying to recall it here in typed words, but needless to say after an entirely improvised 15-minute skewering T.J. left the stage to a thunderous standing ovation. He didn’t do any written material, improvised on one sentence someone heckled him with, and then left to a standing O, something reserved for knockout hour-long headlining sets.
Tomorrow night T.J. is recording his first Comedy Central special at the Boulder Theater, doing two free shows at 7:30 and 9:30. You can get your free tickets on the Boulder Theater website (if any are left). And if this sounds like an advertisement- it is. It’s an advertisement for you to see one of the best comedians I’ve ever seen, recording a comedy special, for free.
You miss it at your peril.