My 90 minutes with Philip Glass’ Book of Longing is now already almost 27 hours past, and on top of that I have to distill some thoughts on today’s final Music in Time concert and this evening’s encounter with the extraordinary (get a ticket now at any cost) Aurelia’s Oratorio. But first, a word on Human Giant, since they’re the most recent post in this space. And also they’re on the cover of the paper this week. (Which, having seen both of those two shows tonight, I feel is a criminal pity.)

[image-1]Rob Huebel and Aziz Ansari are funny guys, of this I have not just no doubt but empirical evidence. They work with Paul Scheer, and they have a weekly MTV program they created for which they’re paid good money. I’ve seen Aziz in person for the 2006 Charleston Comedy Festival, where he packed the American Theater with a side-splitting stand-up act. It’s not a matter for debate. Rob + Aziz = Professionally Funny.

Their Human Giant show for Theatre 99’s Piccolo Fringe at Charleston Ballet Theatre this evening was entertaining, in the same way sitting around the house and shooting the shit with two of your funniest friends and watching TV is entertaining. But it was not Professionally Funny. Is this their fault? I dunno. More importantly, I don’t care.

To be fair, the show wasn’t billed as anything that was going to change your life. (Oh, wait a minute: yes it was. Maybe that was them just being “funny.”) I’m sure Ron and Aziz are busy guys. Or maybe this is a vacation for the two of them, and they dropped in a couple of shows for their good friends at T99 for some beer money. At the CBT studio, they stood beside a portable projection screen and chewed the fat with the audience, cracking a few jokes about being recognized from the show and, this week, from the fact that they’re on the cover of the paper. There was no sketch, there was no improv, there was just … casual conversation with F-bombs and jokey commentary thrown in. Every 10 minutes or so they’d break to show 10 minutes of stuff from their program on MTV. That was mostly pretty good material – creative and clever and, yes, professionally funny. But it was also stuff we could see (and have seen) it any given Thursday night on MTV for the past two months.

Rob and Aziz are talented guys, and they’re going to go a long way. But Theatre 99 and Piccolo audiences deserve a little more for their dollar than just the chance to bask in semi-celebrity. Spoleto is no time to come into town as the biggest billed act of the Piccolo Fringe – in which every other act is busting their tails to bring the absolute best comedy they have to give – and coast on some hungover chitchat and a few clips from last season’s television series. We love these two guys. But we oughtta be getting more than this.