Of Mics and Men
Showdown turns into showcase for stand-up talent

While there’s a wealth of comedy on the Piccolo Fringe schedule this year, there a lack of that old, lonely comedic form of a man and his microphone. There’s improv (lots of improv), sketch comedy, variety shows, and musical theatre. But there’s only one show in the schedule that sacrifices one comic at a time to the altar of a tough crowd. Eric Fowler and his revolving lineup of comics accept the task with a funny show that’s worth the time.
It’s most important to note that it’s not a showdown. It’s a traditional stand-up show, where one comic after another climbs to the stage. Local comic Michele Ouellette began the night with a set so short a bathroom break could have left some missing it altogether. Stewart Huff, who described himself as a wounded sloth, provided self-depreciating laughs and clever insight into the injustice of a Wright Brothers stamp.
As the headliner, Hunter provided the most laughs, particularly through the on-the-spot mishaps, like a mic stand that breaks as he gets on stage and a squeaky front door that interrupts the comedy several times during the show. The rest of his act rests largely on a sort-of mumbling act similar to Ellen DeGeneres’ rambling routine. If you needed another reason to catch the show, Hunter promised the audience, “I will have a joke about Hyman’s in tomorrow night’s show.”

Stand-Up Showdown • Piccolo Spoleto’s Fringe • $15 • May 28 at 9 p.m.; May 29, 30, June 4, 5 at 8 p.m. • Tonik Club, 479 King St. • 554-6060