This week at Absurd Third Thursdays, White Rabbit's monthly comedy night, I felt a bit like Alice, not knowing what I would encounter on my journey in the rabbit hole. I saw, for instance, the nicest heckler in the history of stand-up comedy, endlessly polite while making endless drunken interruptions. But of all the surprises of this show (including host Isaac Landfert's 30th birthday), the true delight was Open Mic Jesus.
In wrinkled shorts and a "Got God?" t-shirt, he took the stage lackadaisically blessing the crowd. And if the crowd catches not the joke and doth not laugh, well, Open Mic Jesus forgives. His material was accessible and irreverent (even former - or current - Bible study kids might find funny), through he wasn't above telling a misogynistic joke or switching up a street joke to begin, "A Pharisee, gentile and prostitute walk into a bar... " And his joke about pawn shops left the crowd with an actual pearl of wisdom.
Opening the show was Cincinnati's Vincent Holiday, who, with just two years under his belt, has some decent skills handling the crowd. Ryan Mast featured, seducing the crowd with his usual mix of quick one-liners and a take on a Harlequin Romance-type story that brings in laughs by the barrel. Introduced by Landfert as "America's Drinking Buddy", headliner DJ Dangler delivered, connecting with hilarious and perceptive stories, delivered in an endearing, yet curmudgeonly, style. Sometimes incensed by mundane things, Dangler communicated his exasperation in a non-threatening, completely funny way - even working the crowd in a "laughing-with" style by drawing on an impressive reserve of mustache jokes when someone showed up wearing a large, French-style handlebar. The next Absurd Third Thursday falls on July 19.