Salt Lake City got a taste of L.A. for one night in a small, homey Downtown establishment. SLUG was there when Chris Thayer stopped by Mo’s American Diner to tell his own brand of awkward and hilarious jokes, and he brought a friend, Anna Seregina. Chris Thayer is a hard-working rising star who originally started out in San Francisco and is now located in Los Angeles. You’ve probably seen him on the Pete Holmes Show or on Holmes’ podcast, You Made It Weird. He’s toured the country and appeared on a variety of different comedy festivals and shows. He is also the co-founder of the weekly LA comedy showcase, The Business L.A. His tour companion, Anna Seregina, is the other producer on The Business L.A. and a co-host on Terrified with Dave Ross. She’s been all over the map from comedy festivals to acting in independent film, and her immense talent shows on stage. When these two got in, after a slight gas mishap, it was a glorious merging of the L.A. comedy scene and the SLC comedy scene.
Hosting the night was Salt Lake’s very own Jason Harvey, who is unapologetic about envying crackheads and reveling in the hilarity of orphan funerals. He’s cut his hosting chops by taking the reins on multiple SLC shows, including his extremely funny Comedy and Other Opinions. The next two opening acts are both currently making the rounds all over Utah, starting with Alex Velluto. Velluto’s sweet and shy outward persona do not make his material equally warm and fuzzy. He covers everything from lofty sperm to suicide notes and then brings it back around to discuss the real price of a testicle. Still fresh on the local scene, his jokes are so spot on that they have opened doors for him that new comics often take years to aspire to. Next up was Natashia Mower hitting it hard with her easygoing, yet sometimes craftily crude, style. She brings set-up, joke, and punchline in with such fast succession the audience often doesn’t have time to breathe during the laughter. Who wouldn’t laugh at her tales of drug-peddling co-workers and her past of working at a movie theater with more than eager patrons? She’s got hormones that make things weird for her, and a lack of glasses that would make proving her point all that much easier. As always, Mower killed it on stage, and everything was set up for our main acts.
Anna Seregina is the kind of hilarious pretty girl we all get told far too often doesn’t exist in comedy. After a few minutes into her set, she proves all of those critics dead wrong. She set the mood by trying to relate to the Utah crowd, and like pretty much all of us, she knew a guy from St. George that slept with everyone but her. Her awkward years as a teenager who was new to the United States would beat out any awkward teen story I have ever heard, but due to her pursuit of the American dream (which in this context was apparently Korn and JNCO jeans) she is where she’s at today—that is, onstage in front of a wildly entertained crowd in our small little bar. The part that killed me, though—and every single person in attendance—was her nearly silent physical comedy.
Seregina wanted to show us what Madonna’s first foray into stand-up looked like. Already I was thinking, “This is going to be good.” One certainly does not associate the Pop Queen with a comedy routine. If you haven’t seen it, Madonna’s set was genuinely filled with some awkward mic stand adjusting, jokes that were super unrelateable, and a sprinkling of narcissism. You know what they say makes good comedy? Take what’s funny to the next level, and just keep going from there. She took the awkward mic stand adjusting to epic new levels that just never seemed to end, she ran with it, and they got funnier by the second. At one point she was straddling the stand, half out the door, and every heavy breath into it would make the room explode in riotous laughter. I am pretty sure I pulled an ab, if that is something that can physically happen. After her set, Jason returned to the stage, and all he had to do was re-adjust the mic stand to have everyone bust into laughing again. He had discovered a moment of comedy gold.
Our headliner of the night did not disappoint. Chris Thayer got onstage and apologized for being a few minutes late, due to the fact that he had to hitch-hike to get gas just as they were getting into town. This isn’t a particularly common sight in Utah, but some of our people here are nice enough to give a stranger a lift, especially if that stranger just by chance looks like a very clean-cut return missionary. I think this is a sign we’ve already accepted him as one of our own. He joked about his “dad outfit,” but again, when in Rome … right? His set was a fantastically awesome mix of some surprisingly dirty-ish material mixed with a kind of innocent awkwardness, though from what could be observed, his once awkward self has kind of turned into a very blunt and sometimes dark comedian, which are the best kind, really.
Like many people, he’s got some great Tinder stories and a pretty good reason to sometimes wish he was into dudes. In his aforementioned awkward years, he lets us all in on the time he first started looking for roommates off of Craigslist, and found that his need for approval could be compromising when trying to form a living situation with drug dealers. With L.A. being Thayer’s home he doesn’t even have to go far for material. In such a weird city, he’s had the opportunity to be a bouncer for a night at a club, which led to the most phenomenal impression I have ever seen of Guy Fieri, and that’s one of the ones that got a little dirty (with some amazing response from the crowd). He covered all of the good comedy bases: drugs, buying molly, his (sadly, dead) mom, brushing his teeth, being a “heartbreaker” at a young age and watching a woman’s ponytail get fondled gently. Thayer accepted a few requests from the audience, who had him run through some improv material on mortgage jokes. When he finally ended his set, he talked about the struggles of unemployment, which provided the gem “Your friends aren’t who you want them to be.”
This was my first time getting to see Thayer and Seregina on stage for a live show, and they did not disappoint. The best part about it was seeing two seasoned comics on tour from L.A. merge with our budding local scene so well. Each comic of the night had their own style, and every one of them had the crowd laughing constantly. This is exactly what a Monday night should contain, good food, great atmosphere and really spectacular comedy.