During the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival at the White River Amphitheatre, comedian and host Jeff Ross paused to pay tribute Friday to Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. It was a touching and sincere homage to two of stand-up comedy’s most influential performers, and Ross found a way to bring humor to the moment.
“Comedy comes from pain,” Ross said. “But Joan wouldn’t want us to be sad, she’d want us to laugh. She was a pioneer, not just in comedy, but in the Old West!”
Boasting the biggest names in comedy, the festival drew large crowds on what turned out to be a gorgeous 80-degree late summer evening in the picturesque scenery of the Auburn amphitheatre. The evening started with 15-minute sets by Whitney Cummings, Demetri Martin, Chris Hardwick and Hannibal Buress before a quick intermission and then closed with 25-minute sets by Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari and Louis C.K.
Ross kept the show on pace, and the audience responded to each performer with generous laughs and applause.
Second on the bill was Martin, who primed the audience with his witty brand of observational one-liners.
“Soap scum seems like a harsh term for what it is,” Martin told the audience. “It’s the lowest form of soap! It used to help me clean and now I have to clean it?”
Silverman, known for her raunchy humor, did not disappoint.
“Spin class is great if you love getting punched in the vagina 70 times a minute by a seat shaped like a fist,” Silverman said.
The crowd gave headliner C.K. the biggest response of the night, greeting him with a standing ovation as he took the stage.
“Be quiet, you paid to hear me speak,” C.K. scolded the crowd. “It’s like if you ordered spaghetti and just started throwing it out the window.”
With his extremely sardonic take on humor, C.K. told the audience he’d learned why it is that babies cry on airplanes.
“It’s because they are upset that gay people are getting married,” C.K. assured the audience. “It’s a shame they don’t see it as a positive thing, but hey, they’re just babies. Theyll grow up and figure it out.”
The festival also featured a side stage with sets by local performers Brody Stevens, Duane Goad and Jubal Flagg as well as side-show performances by Cut Throat Freak Show, which featured fire breathers, stilt-walkers and knife jugglers.