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Williams, Gould Highlight a Wild, Weird Night of Comedy at Throckmorton

On the eve of Comedy in the Plaza, Mill Valley legend joins bill with former Simpsons writer and a trio of excellent comics on a night when the audience seemed to want to be on stage.

Over the past 40-plus years, there likely haven’t been too many occasions when has taken the stage and not been the most memorable part of the evening, particularly in one of his vaunted appearances at the in his hometown.

But due to a variety of factors, including one laughably moronic couple, a woman who decided that texting in the front row was a good idea, some excellent opening acts and a slightly disjointed closing set, Tuesday night was one of those occasions.

Williams’ appearance at the weekly Mark Pitta & Friends night of standup comedy was widely rumored Tuesday. He joined comic and longtime pal Rick Overton for a set of improv to close out the night, touching on a typically hilarious and Williams-esque array of topics that included elderly male strippers, a flooded Marin County, Karl Rove and the iPhone’s Siri.

But it was clear that a few members of the audience wanted to be on stage, none moreso than a couple in the second row that repeatedly cried out for attention to their fledgling relationship and their awareness of the 50 Shades of Gray phenomenon.

The night came to an awkward conclusion when a stunned Williams and Overton caught a seemingly distracted woman texting in the front row.

“The idea here is that you tell people later on what you saw tonight and then you have had a shared experience that doesn’t involve using your f***ing thumbs,” Williams jokingly chided her.

Despite the odd ending, the night had plenty of highlights, most notable former Simpsons writer and executive producer Dana Gould giving people plenty of reasons to head to the Wednesday at 6:30 for the Art Commission’s Comedy in the Plaza event, where he’ll be appearing along with Pitta, Overton and Christina Pazsitzky for a free night of outdoor comedy. As usual, Pitta will host.

Gould, a native of Boston, was hilarious, moving from his dad (“Archie Bunker without the elegance and sophistication”) and love (“it’s all about apologizing even when you know you’re right”) to the Ku Klux Klan’s flawed choice of weaponry (“flaming torches while wearing flowing white robes”) and the prospect of becoming mentally handicapped at an inopportune time due to your previous use of the word “retarded.”

The other two acts, Joe Klocek of San Francisco and Ron Pearson of LA, gave the night a rousing start. Klocek dove head-long into immigration, from U.S. border patrol uniforms made in Mexico to catapults being used by drug smugglers, as well as Bay to Breakers, the Gay Pride Parade and a slew of other topics.

Pearson’s manic act, meanwhile, centered on juggling, first figuratively and then literally. He focused much of his set on the difficulties of parenting and then ended it with actual juggling, including with a stool and a fairly large ladder balanced on his face. It was a sight to behold.

The 411: Comedy in the Plaza features Dana Gould, Rick Overton, Christina Pazsitzky and Mark Pitta at the Plaza at 6:30 p.m. The event is free.  

Uncle Fishbits June 27, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Gould was phenomenal. The openers reminded me of how difficult and lonely stand up can be, Pearson especially echoing the sentiment of the traditionally needy comic working out hyper-personal stuff on stage. His ability to make contact with the audience was really impressive, and daunting. Williams was just fine, with a surprisingly talented Overton knowing when to back away, when to pipe up, and how to complement Robin without playing second fiddle. All in all it was a wonderful night, but the entitlement and ignorance in the crowd was a bit offsetting. All in all, I might like to visit more often with just the smaller names, rather than the spectacle that is created by a jocular and disjointed improv set from a famous dude. Robin is a treasure, but I would have LOVED to see a linear set, rather than the momentary zingers littered with awkward moments of silent thought. I should be working. That was so much fun last night. I can tell you one thing: I am certainly going to be back time and time again. Cheers MV! You did this Tiburon-ite well. =)
Sylvia "Chipps" Newsom Barsky June 28, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Another spectacular night with the expected unexpected. And, yes, I agree that the moronic needy couple were a full on embarrassment to themselves (how much DID they have to drink?), although, they did give Robin and Rick some sideways material to work with. It really is a sad (and aggravating) sign of the times that people cannot simply watch, take in, and experience this kind of brilliance and fun without having to constantly text, twitter, and talk during the show. It is distracting to people sitting around them and it can throw the comedians off as well. That being said, most of the times the audience is supportive, having tons of fun, and truly appreciative of the major talents that grace the stage. Thank you to Mark Pitta and to Lucy Mercer for another wonderful night of great comedy!

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