Technology with attitude

Todd Glass and the Hawthorne Lounge: Bridgetown Day 3

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Todd Glass

Todd Glass gives off competing vibes of tension and playfulness. He’s spoken on his podcast about his interest in curating, in bringing the perfect elements together for his dinner parties. He likes things just so, and we should probably listen to him, because when everybody is on board, it’s perfect. It would seem that some of this was at work yesterday at the Hawthorne Lounge Primetime Show. I spoke with a volunteer who recognized my press bracelet. He told me that before the show Glass was setting the mood of the room by turning off the jukebox, getting the light correct, making sure things were ready.

The Hawthorne Lounge is not a large room; it’s a little bar adjacent to the main theater. You could make eye contact with the performers from the back of the room. In a festival full of great shows, this was one of my favorite experiences as an audience member so far. If the Eagles is the epitome of the surreal, then maybe the Hawthorne Lounge is the epitome of boozy/classy.

The lineup for this show was really well thought-out. Host Veronica Heath ran a tight ship, bringing up seven comics in a room where there was barely room to drink. Seattle’s Parker Postyeni

Parker Postyeni

was first up. I’d seen him perform in small rooms in Seattle, but given the chance to appear among talented peers like this had him standing a good inch taller. Postyeni’s jokes are puzzles full of ridiculous. His absurdist/observational material hit with the crowd, and when he finished he walked off with a grin big as life. Portland’s Gabe Dinger got big open-armed laughs, Robert Buscemi changed the energy completely after that, wearing a hat that required us to overcome our judgement before he could win us over. He did. Jordan Morris pandered spoke of marijuana dispensaries, and as a Jordan Jesse Go fan I did my level best to not shout out “Immortal Power: Plug it in” as my applause.

Dan St Germain changed the vibe again. Things got yelly. His bit about Evan Williams whiskey showed how amazing Germain can get when inhabiting a character. Nato Green got a lot of “right-ons” from the crowd next. His leftist activism has plenty of confederates here. It wasn’t a political rally though, just funny about everything. He took us on a good ride. Todd Glass finished out the show after him.

It’s a strange thing to have the feeling of knowing a comic as a podcast listener, without having seen them live even once. That’s the case for me with Todd Glass, which means that will be the frame of reference. His earnest silliness comes across on stage in a similar way as it does on his show. Maybe a little less playing around on stage. (A little.) That’s the part that gets me — when he seems to be improvising, the crowd work, the yelling from “backstage.” Whether or not it is true that he spent time setting things up in the room, I will forever believe it, as it seems in keeping. There is a willfully youthful attitude pervading his work, tempered with the wisdom to cultivate it. If you don’t silly dance with him you might get a punch in the teeth. You’ve been warned.

For continuing coverage on the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, watch this space.