Jordan Mazzioti is the founder and host of It’s Always Funny in Salt Lake, a comedy show at Keys on Main that runs once every two months. His show brings together some of the biggest names in Utah comedy and throws in rising stars as well as heavy hitters or traveling comedians. Jason Harvey created a monthly show that can be seen at 5 Monkeys in Murray. His format is part over-the-top interview show, and part comedy from some of the best names Utah has to offer as well as guest appearances from comedians all over the country. These two funny-men on the same stage at the same time was oftentimes as beautiful as it was awkward, just like that girl you took to Senior Prom.
The atmosphere at Keys on Main is great for a comedy show. The bartenders are quick and friendly, the drinks and beer selection were fantastic and the finger food is pretty darn good. The room was buzzing with over 100 people in attendance, and each performer kept them laughing. It was an eclectic mix of people in suits and cocktail attire and comedy-philes in T-shirts and jeans. I almost felt the need to apologize to the staff—it seemed like it was a pretty classy joint for such odd people to come in and completely take it over for a night. I settled in with a beer, some good friends, and a huge tower of nachos next to the stage. There really weren’t any bad seats in the house.
The comics onstage for the night brought entirely different styles to the table. After a brief turf war of the hosting duties, Mazzioti and Harvey took turns introducing the show and their own comedic musings. Mazzioti matched fashionably from head to toe, talked about his married life and family, and made the people on the front row feel at ease. That is, until Harvey rushed the stage with a dramatic “Taaaaaag,” and took over. The calm, Sunday-friendly mood took a turn for the hilarious as Harvey compared male appendages to the cinematic masterpiece Die Hard. For the rest of the night, the two hosts played nice and joined forces to expose the crowd to great comic acts, and then proceeded to grill those talented people with the “Other Opinions” part of the show, a series of deep-thinking questions with answers that are always correct.
Aaron Orlovitz took to the stage first to explain how he was introduced to John Belushi and found out the hard way that Google searches aren’t always safe in post-9/11 America. During his Other Opinions section, the audience learned that Macaulay Culkin would someday die and go to heroin heaven if Orlovitz controlled the cosmos. Following Orlovitz was Taylor Hunsaker who encouraged the audience to make a trip to the OBGYN much more awesome for her. Only she could make the C-word sound so much more endearing. When grilled by Mazzioti and Harvey she was loudly interrupted by a 9/11 Truther (special guest appearance by Nicholas Smith), who demanded to know their take on the matter. Once Smith was dragged off by the brave, yet self-proclaimed inebriated Toy Soup, the show commenced with only a few audience members still shaking in fear at Smith’s “inside voice.”
Quick Wits founder Bob Bedore rounded off the first half of the night talking about getting older and gaining weight, as well as his slightly emotional attachment to his memory foam mattress. When Mazzioti and Harvey joined him onstage, the medical community was shocked at the invention of a new disease called “Himpes,” or “Love Bumps” then enlightened the audience with John Stamos’ last words. Next, Paul Sheffield took to the stage and wowed the crowd with his life lessons on everything ranging from roommates to being single to his secrets of warfare and dude stuff like sports and working out. Life in your thirties is less sad and depressing when Sheffield talks about it. While Mazzioti, Harvey, and Sheffield were talking about their great ideas for forming a cult, they were abruptly stopped by another heckler. The Unabomber-looking man demanded to know what to get for his anniversary in three hours, only to find out that his wife was on the other side of the room, hidden in the audience. Needless to say, there was trouble in paradise (guest appearances by Christopher Stephenson and Natashia Mower respectively).
After the audience could again calm down from all of the excitement, veteran comic of 30 years and SLC local Keith Barany got the mic. I couldn’t help at this point notice how many people were drinking wine at a comedy show, but during Barany’s set it totally worked. He compared living in Los Angeles to living in Salt Lake City, and taught us all how to properly deal with an alpha-male. Proving he was really quick on his feet, Barany gave the best answer of the night when Harvey asked him what he believes would be the best way to die. The answer? Jumping off a tall building and landing on Carlos Mencia’s head. To break up the monotony of people with microphones talking to the audience, Toy Soup rushed to the stage for a set of darkly superb improv. Consisting of Andrew Jensen and Troy Taylor, the two hilariously solved a crime involving a Bounty Hunter that took place in Narnia, where he was murdered with a nefarious looking sex-toy. Later, the audience could take in and fully appreciate the spectacle of Bigfoot getting a wax job. They finished of with Mazzioti and Harvey getting them to lead the crowd in an expletive-laden Gregorian chant.
Finishing off the night was headliner and Las Vegas comedian Steve McInelly. McInelly let us all in on his version of a gay fantasy, and I can’t ruin the punchline, but even hardcore homophobes would have to agree on the arrangement of Kanye West and Chris Brown. If anyone in the audience did not understand that comedy is often irreverent and raunchy, McInelly talking about Irish sex, trophy wives, and naming his penis would have given them a crash course. Mazzioti and Harvey pulled at his heart strings and philanthropic side and asked him if he’d donate a leg or an arm. Without hesitation, McInelly would donate a leg, assuming the woman who needed it would be really short, so he could watch her walk in lopsided circles.
The show was a hit, proving once and for all that it really IS always funny in Salt Lake City, and that comedians will often have other opinions on otherwise nonsensical subjects. The show was well worth the $10 ticket price to get in. For that, not only were the seven comedians fresh and talented, the surprises and unscripted moments were absolutely entertaining to be a part of. You can check out pages for all of the comedians on Twitter and Facebook, as well as catch the next performance each month for It’s Always Funny in Salt Lake and Comedy and Other Opinions. No one should miss out on another one of these, because it’s a one-time event, and you’ll never see anything like it again.