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CANCELED: Jeff Garlin

  • Comedy Club on State 202 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Jeff Garlin once boasted in an interview that if he felt like it, he could become the world's greatest stand-up comedian. That this boast was aired in the context of Garlin announcing an obviously short-lived retirement from stand-up telegraphs a few qualities that him worth watching as a performer. But the big one is Garlin's commitment to honesty (if also considerable self-regard?) and his perspective, even if it reflects a passing whim. Born in Chicago and later coming up through Second City's troupes, Garlin became heavily steeped in that theater's philosophies that if you react truthfully and honor your scene partner's moves, the comedy takes care of itself. Also, during this time, he was roommates with Conan O'Brien and officemates with Stephen Colbert—two bits of trivia that say a lot about where Garlin's sensibilities lay. Although likely more synonymous in passing to fans who know him from HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm (back this fall after a five-year hiatus), Garlin has been a workhorse writer, producer, and director since the '90s. This year alone, Garlin released a Netflix comedy-mystery movie (Handsome), starred in another season of ABC's The Goldbergs, and did another season of Curb, and voice-acted in the upcoming Toy Story 4. Still, as Handsome and Curb indicate, Garlin is at his best when he's working without any pretense of a formula. His stand-up is a sort of high-wire act where, as in Curb, Garlin comes in with maybe a back-pocket loose outline and goes from there. He's always affable and charmingly loud, but it's tough to tell you what to expect during this two-day, four-show stint at the Comedy Club on State. Perhaps the best way to let you prepare is to sum up Bill Burr's appearance on Garlin's now-defunct podcast, By The Way, in which Burr interrogated Garlin on what possessed him to once devote an entire set to the pitfalls of hot-air ballooning.  —David Wolinsky

Earlier Event: November 17
Russian Ark (free)
Later Event: November 17
Rabit, Zed Kenzo, Noxroy + Auscultation