Comedy Club Cambodia returned to Pontoon on Wednesday to the girlish delight, manly approval, profound appreciation, and universal approbation of the entire Cambodian nation.
Everyone was there. HE took his customary seat in the front row, prepared as ever to viciously heckle any comedian who, in his words, didn’t “bring it” when they took the stage in “PP-town.” Sam Rainsy was there in spirit; he watched the entire thing live via a satellite link to Paris. Your friends were there, as were your co-workers, and in most cases your significant others and family members. All of them.
I was there, clearly, or else I wouldn’t possibly be able to write this 100% accurate review which was in no way influenced or obstructed by the return of the Ned Kelly Triple Fisted Teacher’s Special of 3 cans of Anchor for $5. (That’s right, it was my idea and I’ll nick-name it whatever I’d like, so fuck off with your jealousy. Take it to yon forums, miserable troll.) My friend Scotty was there. Don’t believe me? Ask him. He was. My other friend Jimmy was there. No shit, you can ask Scotty, he’ll tell you he saw him. Alex Watts, the author, journalist, and scholar, was there as part of his Khmer 440 sponsored research fellowship. Alex is conducting a study for the 440 Policy Institute on the efficacy, merits, and drawbacks of traditional Cambodian medicine. He’s a very busy man and in constant pain from coin scrapings, just covered in welts from cupping, and yet he managed to attend the show.
Everybody was there, pretty much.
Except for YOU.
How was the show? You might ask if you were here and not reading this bizarrely formulated sentence. Or you may be asking. Or you tried to ask earlier but I just kept going on about something else.
This is a review, right? Is the sort of thing you might be saying to yourself as you skim ahead, dismayed to find paragraph after paragraph of angry incoherent rambling and conspiracy theories involving the United Nations and a planned NASA unmanned mission to Mars in 2017. Unmanned? Or is it? (Yes, apparently it is.)
What the fuck is he on about? You could think, with your exasperation building into frustrated outrage. You’re finding yourself perplexed, once again, as to why the publisher of Khmer440 has me writing for the site. Didn’t he ban me at one point? Am I blackmailing him? About what? I mean, in Cambodia it’d have to be something pretty heinous to make it worthwhile for him to cover it up, much less allow all this to go on week after week. What do I have on him? You (kingdom of) wonder to yourself.
Wonder is stomped into the gutter by panic and dread as it occurs to you that you’ve been out with me before, or even just around me. You had a lot to drink. Was I even drinking? Anything? Certainly didn’t seem so. Did I know who you were? What did you tell me? Why can’t you remember? Indeed.
Let’s not worry about that. For now.
The show? The show was seriously fucking awesome. I mean, I’ve tried to tell you all this before. Every Comedy Club show I’ve been to has been a serious, no-bullshit, hardcore, down for it, true ‘til death type festival of intense giggling, nervous tittering, convivial chortling and frenzied guffawing. Big time laughs. Big time laughter. And this week it was no different. No, fuck that. It was different. It was all that … and a bag of Glenn Wool.
Glenn who? You started to say just now, when you were interrupted by having to swallow most of your teeth shortly before being forced to lick my fist like a terrier meeting Cesar Milan for the first time.
Glenn WOOL, I explain. Glenn Wool, the comedian who, I’m ashamed to admit, I wasn’t aware of until recently. But now that I’m aware of him… I’m VERY aware of him. He’s not getting off my radar again. No matter what. He’s just that good. He’s that funny. That weird. That surprising. That smart. That Glenn Wool. He is also the new God of Thunder. Thor is fucking out. Gone. Glenn is in. Grab the hammer and the winged hat, Glenn, suit up, you’re going in. Hold on!
He’s also the God of Wine, but he’s been that for quite some time now, that’s a legit thing he does, not just something I made up. Holy communion with Glenn is to be taken exclusively with ThunderWine: A new Fortified Malt Liquor Energy Drink brought to you by the Church of Glenn Wool.
Oh, THAT Glenn Wool, you mumble as blood pours from your shattered mouth. We all know him, he’s great! Is the lie you decide to tell me to avoid more pain. What about the other acts?
Lord Penh opened the show as the M.C. but he wasn’t up on stage for very long. He didn’t get to catch his breath and try out material the way he did last time. I’d like to see Lord Penh get to do a set, honestly. Would there be some rookie fuck-ups and awkward moments? Yeah, of course, he’s new as new can new. But there could also be some flashes of brilliance, some gut-busting belly shaking chuckles, some jokes that only a full-time resident of Phnom Penh could come up with or properly appreciate. Give his Lordship a few extra minutes. He’s got gigantic balls just for getting up there, wearing that suit and looking like he does, acting all Dutch like the Dutch always do, giving it a shot. Balls like those need to be rewarded or they’ll become filled with bitterness and cynicism, and that’s a hard thing to swallow at a …
… Ah fuck it, my jokes are horrible. I’m no Lord Penh. (And obviously I’m no Glenn Wool, but that would be taking his name in vain if I were to use it to even imply any sort of comparison between us, which could invite my damnation and an eternity in Hell, which is said to be an AA meeting in a church basement somewhere just outside of Green Bay, Wisconsin, on a Tuesday evening in February. They’re always on Step One. Always.)
Kavin Jay? He was good. Not divine, but then who is besides Glenn Wool these days? Kavin’s charisma and wit were on display that evening, however, make no mistake. His best punchlines were his riskiest ones, and his riskiest punchlines had to do with The Erotic and being fat. Sometimes apart, sometimes together. When he landed a punchline about the girl he’s with coming on HIS tits, well, it was a special moment in his set and a special moment for the history of world culture given that a Malaysian Muslim Man of Indian heritage had just hit a home run with a joke about his tits being cummed on, by a woman, in front of a crowd made up mostly of white expats (and a few of the Cambodian women who are their girlfriends, wives, and waitresses.) Bravo, I say, Bravo to Kavin Jay.
Kavin’s biggest misstep? Well, first he asked Scotty where he was from, and upon hearing Liverpool, he proceeded to taketh the piss. This would be the third show in a row where Scotty’s origins in Liverpool have come up as a matter for discussion. If the comedians are to be believed, it is a city overrun by whores, wracked with poverty, and filthy as the sewage soaked rats that undoubtedly swarm the place. I began to understand why Phnom Penh was such a natural fit for Scotty, when Kavin asked me the same question. Where am I from? Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Now, I was born in St. Paul. Could have said that, but I gave him the easier answer. He had nothing, basically. Nothing! What does nothing get you? A whole paragraph on that little misstep, linked to you and yours, forever more, that’s what. Google that shit up, Kavin. Minneapolis-St. Paul. I want to hear some Prince jokes next time, and I don’t care if it isn’t 1985. It’s always 1985 somewhere. Or something. And there should be a next time! And other times after that, too. Malaysia isn’t very far from here. I know that’s true because I just Googled it. Get in the habit!
The main event. Glenn Wool appears to be a beer-drinking hesher type dude from the Moose-infested pine wastes of Canada. He is that. He talks that talk, walks that walk, makes those faces, been those places. At the same time he is so much more. Maybe less, too. You have to hold him up to the light and kind of shake him up a little because if he settles on the bottom he can look empty, but he isn’t … Look closely? See it? My God. He’s full of stars.
It’s confusing but thrilling, is what I’m getting at.
Quick clarification: I meant Actual Fucking Canada, I’m not saying he’s from a branch of the bank here with the cheaper ATM fees. If there was a local guy with a mustache and mullet named Glenn living in a Canadia ATM booth, you’d know about it. You’d probably be hanging out with him right now, huddled inside his air-conditioned glass box, drinking Anchor, blasting Steve Miller Band tunes, and getting stared at by passing Khmer. That’s just a fact. No? Okay, well, then I’d be hanging out with him right now. Now we agree: that is a cold hard fact. Anyways, no, I mean CANADA. Full stop.
These days he lives nowhere and everywhere, traveling the highways and byways and on ramps and access roads and habitat trails of this, His planet, which He calls Earth. Glenn stops from time to time, spontaneously, to present crowds of benighted peasants such as ourselves with the Gift of Laughter, in exchange for a very modest and reasonable fee along with a very ostentatious and unreasonable amount of beer. This is the Yin and Yang of Glenn, The Give and Take that is the way of Him. Now, onto the Review.
Review? Review!? How the fuck am I supposed to “review” something that great? Did Jesus get reviewed up on the cross? Did Buddha get reviewed under his tree? Did Muhammed get reviewed when he was inventing Hummus? Yes, in fact, he did. However, the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, because hummus is just that good. He won many adherents to his faith that day by giving them something to eat with their dry and flavorless pita bread.
My point is, no review I could write would ever do it justice. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how great it was.
You had to be there.
Comedy Club Cambodia: http://www.thecomedyclubcambodia.com/