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Last night was Comedy Central's Indecision in the Park, a night of free standup from all your favorite “Daily Show” correspondents and more. The SummerStage event in Central Park had an enormous turnout; hundreds were turned away at the gate, but sat on rocks behind the venue where they could still hear everything. No matter where they sat, however, everyone could feel the heat.
“This is hugging weather!” host and deranged millionaire John Hodgman announced. He encouraged everyone to feel the armpit of the person next to them because we were “all the same temperature.” Kristen Schaal was the only performer who came prepared for the 97 degree heat, working a Flashdance routine into her set so Hodgman could pour buckets of water on her.
When I heard about Indecision in the Park, I expected the stage to be a replica of “The Daily Show” studio with a group of the correspondents sitting around a table discussing how out of touch Mitt Romney is. While there were plenty of Romney jokes to go around and many of the correspondents were there, it was really nothing like I had envisioned. Each performer had their own individual standup routine, and only one or two of them were politically themed.
The order of performances ranged from the least recognizable (the producers) to the most beloved (everyone else). Not to say that Executive Producer Rory Albanese and Co-Executive Producer Adam Lowitt weren't loved; we've just never seen them before.
Al Madrigal went on after the producers, talking about the way his son's football coach motivates the team: “Pay attention, or you'll have nightmares.” (Side note: Madrigal described the coach as a “cholo,” a slang term I confused with a sugary fried pastry). Schaal opened her set with a spoken-word rendition of “Welcome to the Jungle” and told us a lot about herself, including the time her kitchen exploded because she tried to combine pasta with antipasto.
Wyatt Cenac was one of the few who discussed politics, complaining about having to get up on a Tuesday morning to vote for the president. He also mentioned some race issues including “white power,” not to be confused with “Wyatt power,” which is something his aunts cheer to celebrate his accomplishments. For some reason that confuses people.
John Oliver tried to help us Americans cope with the fall of our empire and chastised the states that aren't pulling their weight. According to Oliver, Utah has to earn its star on the flag or it will be given to Puerto Rico.
Many left after Oliver performed, since he was the last one advertised on the City Parks Foundation site, but those who did missed the surprise addition of long-time “Daily Show” commentator Lewis Black, who is sick and tired of trying to keep up with the Kardashians.
Overall, the night was a great success; John Hodgman introduced us to Human Murder Scrabble, Rory Albanese proved that dogs are better than cats, and all the sweaty people were able to laugh despite the warm scent of bodies in the air (unrelated to Human Murder Scrabble). And maybe, just maybe, someone felt confident enough to reach over and feel the armpit of the person next to them. As the great John Oliver said last night, “Overconfidence is better than no confidence at all, and that's what this country was built on.”