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Review: Hot Tub Comedy Live at Littlefield

by Photo of Jennifer Markert

Todd Barry and Sarah SIlverman bring on steam for Hot Tub at Littlefield

Review: Hot Tub Comedy Live at Littlefield

I personally find myself funny, an opinion that is obviously open to debate. Most people pride themselves in their sense of humor in the same way most people consider themselves kind; despite this, we are shocked to find ourselves in a world filled with a plethora of boring and mean people, bewildered as to how they never fancy themselves as such. There is a point, however, at which we must acknowledge that we are not only as funny as we think we are, but as funny as we are in comparison to the best of the best stand-up comedians. Hot Tub, a weekly evening of comedic delights at Littlefield in Brooklyn, brings comedic masters center stage, a great way to remove ourselves from our own distorted spotlights to enjoy stand-up at its finest. 

Encountering Littlefield, though planned, felt like stumbling upon a secret cut into the side of a bland Brooklyn street. In this gap was firstly a small interior courtyard, with ivy clinging to all corners and a small twinkle-lit tree before the doorway. Though Hot Tub itself is not much like an actual Jacuzzi, the venue Littlefield has a certain ambiance about it, complete with art displays, a mid-sized stage, and a full bar. In absence of bubbles this Monday, the sparkling line-up of comedians did just fine, each bringing forth steam of their own: Giulia Rozzi, Nick Vatterott, Kara Klenk, Todd Barry, and “secret guest from LA” Sarah Silverman had the crowd in stitches. If laughing is as much as a work-out as is rumored, Hot Tub left us all guffawing our way to some well toned abs. The fact that there weren't enough chairs dampened no moods; I personally had a excellent view standing in the back. 

The evening kicked off with an excellent guest host: Jared Logan. Logan's comedy was contagious and fluid, setting the evening up nicely with his own charismatic act and introducing the featured comedians in turn. Though Hot Tub is usually hosted by the comedy duo Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal, Logan did extremely well in their absence, taking to the stage with ease and well-timed jokes and complimenting each act with his own humorous bits.

The first act was Rozzi, one of my personal favorites of the evening, who busted guts with her smart and hilarious takes on feminist issues. Rozzi tackled the age-old sexist mindset that funny women are not pretty (thus pretty women are not funny) with a joke about certain Youtube comments bringing this perception to light: the idea that women are only allowed to have “one talented hole.” Rozzi delved into further issues of beauty and image using stories of an acting class in LA, being bullied in junior high, et cetera, painting a hysterically honest portrait of modern women, or perhaps more accurately, telling off “bitches.”

Following Rozzi was Vatterott, whose sketch involved interrupting Logan's introduction repeatedly as a time traveler from the future. Logan and Vatterott interacted playfully as the latter popped in and out of the curtains, exclaiming “this is going to sound crazy, but was I just here?” and raving about the Expendables 2. The quirky Klenk came shortly afterwards, and did not fail to disappoint with her relevant commentary on apartment buying in NYC and the alleged trauma of moving. Both Vatterott and Klenk were naturals on the stage; their jokes missed no beats and translated simply to the amiable crowd.

Next up was the “secret guest celebrity,” Silverman, who was adorable yet captivating in jean shorts and knee socks, and who perhaps to some surprise, took a pen and notepad with her onstage. Despite the casual and unpolished nature of her performance, which was more of a material testing ground than anything else, she brought forth A-game comedic gems, touching on everything taboo from rape to politics to parenting terminally ill babies. I was personally stoked to see such a big name up close, and am glad to say her ironic and irreverent comedy was excellent first hand. In case you are wondering, not only is she real, but she is really hilarious.

Last but not least was Barry, known for roles in "Flight of the Concords" and The Wrestler, whose dead-pan comedy, mellow stage presence, and slightly absurdist commentary was unique and amazing. To give you a taste: on a former comment that his voice was like “butter,” Barry listed some ridiculous potential responses: a voice like grilled corn on the cob, pancakes on the griddle, or dry toast. He has a way of piling punchline upon punchline to maximum effect, stretching out and expanding jokes in order to extract their full potential. His set was a fine way to end an overall fantastic evening; to follow his own joke, without him the night would have been pancakes, hot and delicious but in need of some butter.

Personally, I enjoyed being in the presence of these professionals, letting myself sit back, chuckle, and enjoy the laugh-smiths at work. If you've been to an amateur comedy show you know there can be highs and lows, peppered with uncomfortable moments both on and off stage; with Hot Tub, the awkward space between audience and performer vanishes, allowing for complete immersion and enjoyment. Though I still consider myself funny, lets face it, few of us touch these masters at work in their ability to manipulate a crowd while giving dozens of people a work-out equivalent to crunches in the mean time, except perhaps for yoga instructors. With this in mind, the next Monday you are feeling lazy, skip the gym and treat your self to Hot Tub at Littlefield. Find out how unfunny you really are, and walk away as impressed as me.  

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