Brent Weinbach: Not here to make friends | Comedy Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Brent Weinbach: Not here to make friends 

The LA comic doesn't go out of his way to endear himself to audiences, but his stand-up is bold and incongruous.

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Brent Weinbach

Brent Weinbach

Mandee Johnson

Unlike many comics, Los Angeles's Brent Weinbach isn't interested in endearing himself to an audience. On his latest album, the hysterical Mostly Live (ASpecialThing), he doesn't bother to introduce himself, or ask the audience how they're feeling, or engage in any sort of pleasantries whatsoever. Instead, he launches instantly into character, delivering a sprawling monologue in an indecipherable accent—it sort of sounds like a mix of Mexican and Middle Eastern, with a little New England frat boy—on the supposed dangers of performing oral sex on an unshaven woman. Finally, at the end of the bit, he addresses the audience directly, claiming he'd just performed "an almost exact re-creation of a video blog I saw on YouTube, and I wanted to share that with you so you're all aware of what your children have access to."

It's a bold move, but a Weinbach set is built on the sort of risk taking that either wins viewers over or alienates them completely. Those with a taste for incongruity should find him irresistible, as he's not only expert at twisting logic but also deconstructing said logic once it's been twisted. It's a style that recalls George Carlin mixed with early Louis CK: genuinely clever insights on everyday minutiae delivered with an absurdist edge. Still, Weinbach isn't reliant on topical humor. Quite often he's outright goofy, like when his riff on Tim Allen's trademark grunt devolves into a series of guttural, animalistic noises—asinine, sure, but also perfectly calibrated. It's the pinnacle of silliness.

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