When I saw the bill for the 4th Anniversary of Eugene Mirman’s comedy show Tearing the Veil of the Maya I knew I had to be there. When I first moved to NYC I was at underground comedy shows like Tearing the Veil two or three times a week. I hung out at comedy parties and I knew most of the down town comics. When I saw the bill for the show at the Bell House I realized I used to hang out with every person on the line up except for the Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac who is fucking hilarious. I knew it would be a good show and a good chance to see old friends.
I had no intention of shooting the show but I happened to have my telephoto lens on me from an earlier shoot so I pulled it out and took about two photos of each comic. I wasn’t really thinking about doing a post about it but I figured I could maybe put a few shots on my Tumblr or something. It was really too dark to shoot anything. The show started out with AD Miles and Leo Allen just completely killing it. Miles told a story about how his wife busted a robber who broke into their home and Leo did a slide show that explained that dogs were funnier than cats, and vomit is funnier than diarrhea. It was joyful. Wyatt Cenac came on next and was fucking great. I had only seen him once before and I am a pretty big fan so it was great to see him get into it. But right after Wyatt finished the night took a weird turn.
A special guest was introduced. It was Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers. I was pretty excited. This guy has made a career out of doing crazy shit (plus making awesome music) and I was pretty excited to see what he would do. He came out and did some jokes about child rape and just horrifying shit like that. And people were less horrified than they were confused. Pretty soon it was clear that him telling these jokes was the actual joke. He then introduced himself and explained that he had been doing cover jokes, like he was a cover band and then he proceeded to do his actual set. It was pretty clear that Gibby Hanes is not a comedian, but he is a showman and as he offended more and more people with his poorly timed totally offensive jokes people actually started laughing and when he pulled out a little plastic doll leg from his bag he almost had the crowd on his side… A least until he referred to it as a “negro leg”. He said “negro leg” about 10 times before some girl in the audience yelled “stop saying negro!” and then “you aren’t funny!” He got on her case and started yelling offensive stuff at her. The crowd reaction was mixed. It got the biggest laughs but people also started yelling shit out at him in her defense. At some point he asked to be booed off the stage which he may have been going for to begin with, but people wouldn’t do it and so he told the crowd he had one more thing for them. He reached in to his bag and was about to pull something out when the girl who started the whole thing jumped on stage and tried to grab the mic from him. When Eugene Mirman ran on stage to stop her she turned to head back to her seat which is when Gibby shot her in the back of the head with the confetti cannon he was trying to pull out of his bag. He had probably meant to spray the audience, but it was perfect kismet that the the climax of his act just happened to be the perfect weapon. The crowd was pretty much silent as he walked off stage, but as Eugene Mirman tried to calm down the crowd people started to realize what we had just seen and everyone just started uncontrollably laughing. I was pretty much crying. The whole thing was so fucked up and so funny and so brilliant. I was almost hoping the girl was a plant because that would have been some real Andy Kaufman shit right there… Either way it was life changing.
Eugene finally settled the crowd down and the love-of-my-life Kristen Schaal read Taint Monologues from her new Sexy Book Of Sexy Sex. She was amazing and it really got the crowd back into it immediately. Then Todd Barry performed and there are few comedians as good at just talking about what just happened as Todd. Todd’s material is great but when he is just ranting at the audience and making shit up he is brilliant. Gibby gave him so much material and he fucking killed it. It was the perfect ending to easily one of the best comedy shows top to bottom I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot of comedy shows…
Like I said I barely took any photos and most of them sucked, but I needed to tell this story and there are a few okay images of some really fucking funny people. So you should click here to see all the photos from the 4th Anniversary of Tearing The Veil Of The Maya at The Bell House.