Sara Dahms is a comedy superfan who even goes so far as to call herself a comedy nerd. Raised on National Lampoon, John Hughes, Gene Wilder, and Fairy Tale Theatre, her life changed after her older sister showed her Eddie Murphy’s Raw in 1988. Soon after, she found Andrew Dice Clay and became a stand-up junkie for life. Eighteen months ago, she took her first comedycation to see Jeff Ross play in Miami on her birthday. Since then, she’s been traveling all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere, a confirmed comedy addict, and now she’s agreed to share her travels with us. This is her column. In this edition, Sara heads to St. Louis to check out the Blackout Tour.
I’ve been a fan of Chris Rock since the 90’s, so when I heard that he was going back on the road with his Total Blackout Tour, I just about died! I had been waiting nearly a decade to see this man perform live and nothing was going to stop me now. There was no Chicago date listed, so I instantly started checking cities and dates to book my next comedycation. I’m a middle school guidance counselor by trade and his St. Louis tour date happened to land during my school’s spring break….. Perfect! That’s the show for me. Ticket bought and trip booked. Meet me in St. Louie!
I have been to many shows, in many lands, but I have never experienced a showcase of talent as impressive as Chris Rock’s Total Blackout Tour. Most big name comedians who embark upon major tours seem to follow the classic models of either using a few local acts to open and feature for them, or they will opt to use a local act to open, but then travel with their hand selected feature act from city to city. Either one of these equations is par for the comedy course and has come to be what I accept as an industry standard… Well, Chris Rock has completely blown that mold apart! He is flipping the script and bringing out headliner, after headliner as his “surprise guests” during his shows. Chris has gifted his fans with appearances by Eric Andre in Columbus, Ali Wong in Denver, Hannibal Buress in Minneapolis, Jeffrey Ross, Eric Andre & Dave Chappelle in New Orleans and Dave Attell in New York, just to name a few! All of these comedians have come out to share the stage and celebrate Chris Rock’s triumphant return to stand up comedy.
I am super pleased to say that Chris Rock’s Total Blackout Tour date in St. Louis did not disappoint. He booked this show to perfection and kept the funny going all night long.
Ardie Fuqua was our first surprise guest of the evening. Besides the fact that he survived a near fatal crash alongside Tracy Morgan, which left him in a coma, he is also one of my heroes for his masterful crowd work on “Big Jay Oakerson’s What’s Your F@%king Deal” and for his hilarious performances on “Louie.” Ardie Fuqua has just the right energy to get the party started and set the tone for the amazing night of comedy we were lucky enough to be a part of. Just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, out came our second surprise guest of the night. Holy shit, it was Anthony Jeselnik! I’ve recently discovered Pete Holmes’ podcast, “You Made it Weird” and Anthony Jeselnik’s episode is one that I listened to just last week. Anthony’s dark and savage sense of humor was freaking hilarious in contrast with Pete’s lighthearted, yet thought provoking style. After hearing Anthony on Pete’s podcast, I looked up his tour schedule in an attempt to see him live. Unfortunately, there were no dates that worked with my schedule, but little did I know there was no need to worry because I already had a ticket to see him perform…. as one of Chris Rock’s surprise guests! Too weird!!! I had seen and loved Anthony on all of the roasts he’s been on for Comedy Central, but had never seen his stand up before this show. He was hysterical! I love his ability to push limits and find the funny in even the darkest subject areas. He is one very talented comedic mind. I am SO glad I was able to see him perform live after all. Thank you Chris!
Now, for our official headliner. The man we all came out to see, Mr. Chris Rock. Let me start by saying that bringing out professional headliners as surprise guests is a HUGE risk for a comedian to take. It could end up being a mistake and completely blowing up in their face. The fact that Chris shares his stage, speaks volumes of the level of confidence and faith this man has in himself and his material. I completely respect this about him and guess what? He nailed it! Chris took the stage, did an hour easy and completely killed the entire duration of his set. The man is a master. His skills as a writer are out of control. I feel as if I just watched Babe Ruth hit one out of the park with this show. The life experiences Chris has gone through- good, bad and ugly have really allowed him to grow as an artist and sharpen his already perfect wit. He has added a layer of depth, vulnerability and introspection to his material that has made him completely relatable and even more endearing than ever before. His take on politics, love and marriage are funny and authentic. His delivery and mechanics remain flawless and impressive. I could not have laughed harder or been more entertained with a night out for comedy. From soup to nuts, the show was flawless!
Chris has completely raised the bar for major comedy tours and will continue blowing the minds of his fans one city at a time. His headliner “special guests” are truly just the cherry on top of an already perfect sundae! Chris Rock may have been off the road for nine years, but his Total Blackout Tour is a perfect 10. Check it out and spread the word!