The name “Heart of Darkness” promoted as a live comedy show might make many people a little queasy, thinking perhaps, that if they attend, they will be made uncomfortable on what is performance art attempting to be Andy Kaufman. Though there is a higher brow in the brand of comedy that producer/host/comedian/ringleader Greg Barris wrangles for his show, one will never find themselves laughing only because they’re uncomfortably lost in the “Heart of Darkness”.
Taking place at unusual and unique venues that are a far cry from the traditional comedy club around the country, Greg Barris purposely makes his show more of an organic experience (he touches and forgives audience members) rather than another one of the stand up showcase shows that has spread like a virus across the face of Los Angeles. In fact, at both the Burbank Moose Lodge or in the back room of Meltdown Comics for the recent two-show stint in LA, audience members got more the sense that they were hanging out after school and some really amazingly talented and hilarious friends rather than the $8 you paid to sit in a crowded room and see a “planned-enough performance”. With a small line-up, all the performers got to play loose and at their pace, keeping the easy-going, laid-back vibe present throughout the duration of “Heart of Darkness”.
The Comedy Bureau was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the Meltdown Comics edition that had a stellar line-up of comics including the incomparable Reggie Watts (as only briefly caught on tape here) floating between a multitude of accents, jokes, and songs, the painfully, but hysterically honest stories of Sean Patton, and the anxiously funny Chelsea Peretti as well as the head of the whole operation Greg Barris and his right hand man in the form of band Dima and Doctor Juchins. The show was sold out and packed to the gills as I gladly stood the whole time.
For anybody that has groaned when they have heard the joke set-up, “So I’m half…,” wondered if that was all that stand up comedy has become and why you’re possibly not having a good time, perhaps you should catch Greg Barris’ Heart of Darkness next time it’s in town to restore your faith in that there is indeed an alternative to stand up comedy that’s been stuck in the hey-day 80’s and it’s pretty damn funny.