Layers: BRENT WEINBACH’S “Appealing to the Mainstream” is A Master Class in Stand-Up Comedy
There’s a good reason BRENT WEINBACH is a recipient of the Andy Kaufman Award. The comedian’s newest stand-up special Appealing to the Mainstream, out on Seeso, is a wonderful example of the artist’s ability to continually innovate his craft and completely charm every new audience he performs for. I’ve seen the comedian live innumerable times and yet his sets always seem fresh to me. In the special, we get more of the classic Weinbach impressions, audience interaction, sound effects, and physical humor we’ve come to love, but a bit weirder and just slightly more uncomfortable (in the best way). Weinbach begins the performance with an exercise in applause. What better way to get an audience energized than to use their main form of positive expression, clapping, to the comedian’s advantage. Once the audience is pumped, it’s that much easier to draw them into bits that veer off into more taboo territory, like the female form and strip clubs. Don’t worry, every time Weinbach has you worried you’re about to cheer for repugnant material your parents would be ashamed of, he softens the blow with comedy that includes wordplay, absurd exaggeration, vocal gestures, and exhalted tomfoolery.
Case in point, Weinbach talks about the time he was banned from a comedy club. He re-enacts the dirty material a fellow comedian was performing at said club, which he felt paled in comparison to his banned act. Let’s just say, in the hands of a lesser performer this impression could have been incredibly offensive, but Weinbach manages to easy any guilt, making the offending jokes laugh out loud funny. Two of my favorite moments from the special include Weinbach’s attempt to morph into a stylized comedian who acts “more natural” on stage and, of course, the not necessarily authentic list of international words for a common male body part. From the R&B lazy eyelids to the Russian alphabet to the effort to not be creepy on stage, Weinbach pushes the audience out of their comfort zone while making them realize how damn fun it can really be. I really hope you take a chance on this Seeso special because not only will you laugh, you’ll learn just how much quality humor can transcend our often crude humanity.