The Boston contingent was especially strong, including Baxter, who has improved by leaps and bounds since I last saw him (and it had been a while). I was wondering, before the show, how Matt D. would fit in. He’s a deadpan absurdist, rattling off joke after well-constructed joke. But a lot of the comics had big energy and big personalities. It would be easy for him to get lost in that, but that didn’t happen. Matt D. had a great set dense with one and two line jokes.
In a Boston Comedy Festival first, there was a tie for first place between Nate Bargatze and Saleem. Will Sylvince came second, and Nick Cobb came in third. Which means the Boston comics trailed the field. There was a certain amount of parity among this group, but that doesn’t make the results any less puzzling.
|Nate Bargatze and Saleem Muhammad|
Robert Klein was fantastic. His resume is long, stretching over more than forty years, and Klein had a little fun with his introduction for his Lifetime Achievement Award. Standing next to McCue and listening to a list of his accomplishments, Klein began to hunch over and tremble, aging as McCue spoke.
|Klein accepts his award|
Klein started to wax nostalgic about coming to Boston with The Apple Tree in 1966, previewing the show before its Broadway run. Not all of the memories were good – Klein stayed at the Avery Hotel, which he called a piece of shit, while the big stars stayed at the Ritz. He was all over the map, material-wise, delivering a loose, casual set. He talked about having to “shtup” Joan Rivers in a movie, and how she tried to sell him bracelets during the scene. Industrious woman.
Price cracked up at the after party, talking about Klein backstage, busting chops over the price of a scotch at the Wilbur. And no matter how the contest ended, he said, being on that bill was the prize.