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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Judah Friedlander galvanizes Comedy Club with his first visit

Professional comedian and television star Judah Friedlander performed at the Comedy Club on State Sept. 18, joined by host David Fisher and “Last Comic Standing” semi-finalist Tommy Ryman.

Usually, Thursday shows are student nights where, with a student ID, you can get in for only $5. With the great value comes the downside of drunk and usually loud college kids heckling and disturbing the show. Two fraternities packed the room and a few intoxicated couples used the show to voice their unwarranted opinions on how each comedian’s set was going. However, skilled professionals like Friedlander and Ryman know how to spin the rude interruptions into witty and hilarious jokes, as was the case that night.

Host David Fisher warmed up the crowd with spectacular results. One of his highlight jokes was a sporadic running anecdote he would intersperse between jokes about seeing a homeless man with a Pilates ball on the side of the street. A fantastic host and all-around warm personality, Fisher is a young comic you will want to see.

Tommy Ryman was the featured comic, performing a tight, well-rehearsed fifteen to twenty minute set. Of all the comics, Ryman stuck to prepared material most. Whenever a drunken audience member would yell out some nonsense, Ryman easily brushed it off and continued with his material, gaining unprepared laughs along the way. Ryman had the blunt, self-deprecating humor seen in comics like John Mulaney and Dan Mintz, along with the matter-of-fact analysis similar to Hannibal Buress. Ryman, a Minnesota native, took an early opportunity to pander to the Wisconsin crowd by making fun of his shortcomings on “Last Comic Standing” by commenting, “I’m from Minnesota. We think the semi-finals means the end.” After Ryman exceeded expectations and made a number of new fans, Friedlander went up to an energized and engaged crowd.

Wasting no time, Friedlander started his set with crowd work, asking for the names of the front row and riffing off of their responses to personal questions he asked. Friedlander coined the title “World Champion” for himself, returning to a running gag throughout the show that he is the toughest, smartest and all-around champion human being.

At one point in the show, Friedlander announced his “candidacy” for president, saying that any issue someone yelled out he would be able solve it easily. This led to audience members yelling out random, sometimes incoherent topics or phrases out to Judah. Each time someone yelled out a topic, Friedlander would fire back with his solution, almost always a quirky or preposterous series of steps to completion. Friedlander expertly found his stride in crowd work and very rarely went into prepared material. He knew he didn’t need to break out his guaranteed punch lines when his off-the-cuff riffing was doing so well.

Even though the crowd was less than ideal, Fisher, Ryman, and Friedlander were at the top of their game, each delivering unique and original jokes that always killed. The comedians brought the crowd’s energy to new levels, with Friedlander leaving everyone wanting more. With his first time in Madison, Friedlander got a taste of just how rowdy and fun-loving the Madison comedy scene can be.

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