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Amp'd: Funny as F#%k!

Posted by Goran / July 22, 2008

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Have you ever been high as f#%k? Well… it’s not altogether unlike the Just for Laughs Amp’d spectacle held at the Cabaret Juste Pour Rire last week. Hosted by the untamed, and surprisingly musically talented, Craig Robinson (The Office – US), Amp’d resembled a trippy dream in which music and comedy decided to recreationally experiment with crack together.

Aside from exceeding my wildest expectations, the stand-up concert put hyped-up JFL shows, such as the Ethnic Heroes of Comedy and Nasty Show, to shame. Packed and buzzing with energy, the Cabaret hosted a crowd yearning for some hardcore laughter. Backed by a professionally funky and authentic acid jazz ensemble, Robinson coaxed incessant hooting from spectators’ throat-holes as he stroked his keyboard and blasted out comical covers from a pop cornucopia.

But the show was not entirely free of disappointment. Some of the opening acts, including Kiwi (read Flight of the Conchords) wannabe Aussies Tripod and the shy ukulele toting Pennsylvanian Kate Micucci, though cute, failed in enticing me to chuckle. Which was fortunate enough as I needed a break from the tummy ache. An additional break from hysteric laughter was kindly provided by the acoustic stylings of LA singer/songwriter/(not so humorous) humourist Heny Philips.

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Despite its shortcomings, Amp’d was not short on quality nor surprises. The half drunken Hollywood comedy mogul, Judd Apatow, was hopping around from show to show last Thursday night. Earlier on in the evening I witnessed his mediocre stand-up bit during the Ethnic Heroes of Comedy at Metropolis. He later jumped up on stage at the Cabaret to join Robinson in an equally mediocre rendition of Blood, Sweat & Tears’ ‘Spinning Wheel’. It must be easier to write/produce/direct than it is to stand-up and sing.

The crowd roared for hometown hero and overnight internet success story, Jon Lajoie, who effectively ran away with the show. Given that his youtube channel has received over a million views, making him one of the most watched Canadians on the net, Lajoie practically is "the awesomest ever", which he kept repeating for the duration of his performance. With a small backing band, Lajoie treated the eager audience to some of his instant classics: ‘Everyday Normal Guy’, ‘High as F#%k’ and the track that explicitly states what we’re all thinking ‘Show Me Your Genitals’. In fact, he was the only performer forced to return for an encore during which he sang a song about everyone’s favourite porn site ‘2 Girls 1 Cup’.

Props and noteworthy mentions also go out to the LA acid trippin’gangsta rap duo of Million Dollar Strong. Sporting tighty whities and a skin-tight gray catsuit respectively, Mike O'Connell and Ken Jeong made a very cute couple. Their acid trip hop track 'What's it Gonna Be?' has apprently inspired a new MTV movie. I guess it's better than Nick & Jessica or another season of the Osbournes. But the man to watch out for, is not actually a man yet, having reported the growth of his first pube just a week ago. 17-year-old Massachusetts nerd, Bo Burnham, threw down some of the most wittily satirical rhymes and verses that I've heard since the Conchords took flight. I strongly recommend checking out his site and keeping an eye out for this prepubescent teen gangsta-nerd who's "been doing drive by's all of his life, except the bullets are newspapers, and the car's [his] bike".

Photos from Bo Burnham and Jon Lajoie

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