"Paul Mercurio

Crackers Comedy Club

Dec. 13-17

Paul Mercurio must hate the stage. Last Thursday night at Crackers in Broad Ripple, he avoided it like one of the opening acts shit on the stool. Mercurio, an Emmy and Peabody Award winning writer who has spun turns on The Tonight Show and The Daily Show, spent most of his set flitting through the crowd, working sans mic, like a manic street comic. And homeboy has got some patter.

“You!” he points, spins and races toward the back of the room. “You are a handsome black man. Stand up. Look! There are two more back there.” And then quickly dropping into hushed, worried tone, “You aren’t going to gang up on us are you?”

Scanning the room he spots an older man in a hat and jacket. “You! You’re the guy with the van who picks up kids!”

Everything delivered with the giddy, spontaneous glee of discovery.

His scripted material is solid, anti-consumerist to the core, lefty but not the sensitive flavor. He’s raw in the unfiltered, “funny ’cause it’s true” sense, not the yawn-inducing “hold on while I try to shock you” sense. Mercurio is the type who says he hates people, but hates to be alone even more. He’s at this best amongst the crowd.

He implored an elderly woman to flash her breasts, but only after he has her stand, walk across the room and learn how to exchange a peace and love chest thump with his handsome black friend. Later, he invites her back to the hotel to do lines and then accosts her husband for not standing up for her.

He’s aggressive and joyous and New York City to his core. Even at his most caustic he’s gracious enough to let everyone in on the joke. Everyone is a target, but nobody is a victim.



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