Who knows what kind of set Michael Ian Black was planning when he booked this show with Nick Thune?

By their own admission, the comedians were not particularly close. They were friendly sure, but according to Thune they just “sort of know each other”. Maybe they just both only felt comfortable with doing a 30 minute set, and it was some booking agent that decided to just put two well-known comics together on one bill and foregoing either the standard “full hour” or “one opener and a 45 minute headliner” booking. We might never know. Unless one of them tells me directly.

Either way, it seems both of the comedians opted to go with a more experimental route towards comedy.

With Black choosing to devote nearly half of his time exploring a piece about lighting his arm on fire as a general sort of “protest” (a bit he may or may not duplicate tonight at the Will Forte gala) and Thune exploring what he called “plane jokes”. Which of course, were jokes he had written on the plane to Montreal. Why? Because he was tired of the same old shit. Also perhaps because he was on a bender (his words).

The other half of Black’s time was devoted to the very real world news surrounding himself and the outlandish war that is going on between himself and right-wing Twitter. I don’t much feel like digging into it here, a Google search on your own time will tell you all you need to know about this absurd debacle he finds himself embroiled in.Enough comedy that I can appreciate the buildup and execution of a joke. I will find it funny, and I will enjoy myself at a show. But a well crafted, rehearsed bit is like a piece of art. You can find the ebbs and the flows of the craft and appreciate the work in an almost clinical way.

What Thune and Black did last night was much more interesting to me.

I’m enjoying myself the most when I am incapable of seeing the buildup to the punchline. When I don’t even have any idea what the punchline might be. Possibly because the performer themselves doesn’t know.

There were times last night where I was quite literally among the only people laughing at some of the exploratory comedy that was on display.

Give me unpredictability over polished finish any day.

To the point where I would surely see this show again, because I am sure it will be a different experience, I would recommend it highly.

If you want something structured and rehearsed, Just for Laughs has the Gala events (although Michael Ian Black might bring a shade of spontaneity to his tonight), if you want to witness the process and see raw comedy, go to this show.

Michael Ian Black and Nick Thune perform until July 28th at La Chapelle at OFF-JFL. Tickets and info here.

Keith does all sorts of things here on 9to5.cc, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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