REVIEW: Anthony Jeselnik knows no boundaries, and it's hilarious

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Anthony Jeselnik
  • Anthony Jeselnik

The pleasures of dropping babies. The ranking of murder-suicides as the best kinds of suicide. A horse that's considered a hero by the family thanks to it throwing a particularly annoying cousin off its back, resulting in a broken neck.

Yes, comedian Anthony Jeselnik pushes the boundaries of what some would consider "good taste," but he's so good at building his jokes and leading the audience to ever-more-extreme conclusions that his appeal is undeniable — at least for some of us.

At Jeselnik's early show Friday night, one of five gigs he's doing at Spokane Comedy Club over the weekend, he filled the sold-out room with laughs, hoots and one particularly disturbing interruption from what I assume was some drunk guy who yelled, inexplicably and in the middle of a story about a fan letter from a white supremacist, "Drop the mic!"

What the audience member meant, I have no idea, and Jeselnik didn't hear him, so the comedian said, "I'll give you one chance to repeat yourself, but I wouldn't recommend it." The audience roared its approval as Jeselnik swiftly moved on.

On stage, the tall comedian (currently sporting a beard) carries himself as the ultimate ego-centric asshole, and a sociopath to boot, to great comedic effect. His ability to lead the audience in one direction through a story, only to twist the end with a hilarious insult aimed at seemingly innocent subjects, makes for a style all his own, and one that clearly connects with a large audience.

Basically, everything is a target for Jeselnik's jokes, from the opening acts who performed before him, to the town that's hosting him: "This is my first visit to Spokane. I'm sorry, what I meant to say was, this is my last visit to Spokane." Over the course of the show I saw, everyone from a deaf neighbor to Jehovah's Witnesses to his parents came into his comedic crosshairs, and it all worked remarkably well.

Is Jeselnik's style for everyone? No, but no comedian's style is. He's masterful at creating a character and a great hour of laughs, and in this case built to a 10-minute bit about taking a friend for an abortion that was a concise distillation of his style. You might squirm through it, but you'll laugh a lot as you do.

Jeselnik performs two shows Saturday night at Spokane Comedy Club. The 7:30 pm show is sold out, but there are still tickets available for 10:30 pm as of Saturday morning. Don't be late; opener Megan Gailey was pretty great, mocking her upper-class upbringing and white privilege to great effect.