Jodi Brothers and Marty Riemer (photo: Nicole Raine)
Jodi Brothers and Marty Riemer (photo: Nicole Raine)

Yes, it was funny. And considering how much former KMTT morning hosts Marty Riemer and Jodi Brothers are loved in this town, it was a festival — or perhaps more accurately, a comic love fest with an irreverent sense of humor.

The sixth annual Funny Festival, featuring Bill Burr, Jeff Garlin and Northwest comics Nick Thune and Kyle Cease, drew a big, boisterous crowd to the Paramount Theatre Friday night for 2 1/2 hours of madcap hilarity and inspired profanity. (Read my interview with Riemer and Brothers here.)

The two comics with the biggest potty-mouths? Definitely Burr and Garlin, both high-profile comics who were nevertheless gut-wrenchingly funny. Their acts were also good examples of what you can’t do on radio, but you can get away with on stage in front of an adult audience.

My favorite of the bunch was Seattle-bred comic Thune, who shared bright, clever stories and astute observations while strumming his guitar.

The show began with legendary Northwest climber Ed Viesturs, whose videotaped fireside chat was comically self-obsessed. “Sometimes I lose track of just how awesome I am,” he said with mock pride.

The video portrayed Riemer and Brothers as comic losers trying to keep up with Viesturs’ mountain climbing and other physical exploits. In one vignette, the directionally challenged radio hosts were to follow Viesturs to Mt. Everest, but ended up in Everett — with no mountain in site. Something similar happened when they tried to join Viesturs for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., but ended up in Vancouver, Wash.

Cease, who grew up in Bothell, was among the more energetic comics in the lineup. Twisted in a boyish, prankish way, Cease (an Elton John fan who incorporated the singer’s music into his set) vowed to make his own death someday “fun” by assuming a pretzel-like yoga position and letting his family try to untangle him after rigor mortis set in. (Cease will open for comedian Louie Anderson Feb. 20 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.)

Thune poked fun at KMTT, 103.7 FM “The Mountain,” from which Riemer and Brothers were fired last September, as the go-to station for incessant airplay of Tracy Chapman and Ben Harper songs.

Thune talked about his New Year’s resolutions, claiming “no cats” among them (for older single women, he said, make that six cats). The skinny-as-a-rail comic joked about having a “brown belt” (not for self-defense, but to hold up his pants).

Birth by C-section was the DiGiorno (as in pizza) of child-bearing because “it’s not delivery,” he said.

His best routine was about averting tragedy in a crowded bank by responding to a madman’s claim he would shoot a baby if someone didn’t do a back flip (very funny, but you had to be there).

Before Garlin took the stage, the Snoqualmie Valley Panther Pride Unicycle Team wowed the audience with its twirling, one-wheeled theatrics. An unexpected treat for the audience, for sure.

Garlin, a beefy presence who naturally warms to a crowd, said, “I don’t have an act, so there’s nothing to be disappointed by.”

He told a hilarious story about going to a masseuse and causing the massage table to collapse merely by putting his big hand on it. The result was a few moments of anxious embarrassment before getting a professional rubdown by a female masseuse.

Suffering from a cold and dismayed by Seattle’s rainy weather, he asked the audience, “Why do you live here?” The crowd broke into laughter.

Garlin’s best routine was a story about meeting Kid Rock at a Chicago Cubs game, during which the hoarse-voiced rock star shouted profanities over the loudspeakers.

A master of comic voices — and irreverently crass — he also shared a hilarious anecdote about a man with a fetish for Waffle House waitresses.

Best known for his work on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” as well as appearances on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Late Night With David Letterman” and other shows, Garlin is author of “My Footprint: Carrying the Weight of the World,” due Feb. 23 from Simon & Schuster. (He’s scheduled to appear March 17 in Seattle as part of a book tour.)

Burr, a veteran of Chappelle’s Show and “Late Night With David Letterman,” was a nonstop of fount of profane humor. He made fun of Oprah’s view that motherhood was the world’s hardest job by taking jabs at moms he perceived as lazy: “no time card, no tax return, walking around in big, fuzzy slippers.”

With rapid-fire delivery, Burr weighed in on Tiger Woods, saying, “How psyched is Tiger that he’s getting divorced? He should just become the bad boy of golf, with a whore as a caddy. And get on Facebook and just go f—king crazy.”

Burr also made fun of people who “rescue” dogs. “Did you pull him from a burning building? No, you got her at the pound.” Burr also told an irreverent story about befriending an adopted pit bull, who became a sounding board for his rants. The dog was so intimidating to others, he said, that it was “like having a gun you can pet.”

Let’s hope the show’s beneficiary, the Human Society for Seattle/ King County, had a good sense of humor.

After the show, Riemer and Brothers invited the audience to join them at Il Fornaio restaurant a few blocks away. A huge crowd from the Paramount strolled in, but I had to leave before the hosts showed up.

So, what did you think of Funny Festival? And who was your favorite comic?

And who was the heckler who loudly shouted at Burr before storming out of the theater during his set?

5 Replies to “Marty Riemer’s Funny Festival offers an irreverent night of humor”

  1. Burr, by far, was the most hilarious of the night. He was so politically incorrect, I thought I would die of laughter. I would see him again….over and over. My face hurt from overuse of muscles after his routine. Politically incorrect in a town of political correctnes……perfect. Need that laughter in this whole pressure-cooker of a recession we got going.

    And, of course, the opening film was totally funny. Marty and Jodi need to have a venue for that hilarity. The Mountain really lost a Seattle treasure when they fired that duo. Not only are these two funny people, they are such warm and wonderful people to boot. That is why they have such a loyal following.

  2. We loved the show! Thune was my favorite as well and Burr offended some audience members, specifically our gay community. A couple of friends of ours left Burr’s bit soon after the heckler shouted out “Homophobe!!!” and abruptly left the theatre. The heckler didn’t respond to Burr because he had already left the auditorium. Burr ended up turning his offensive around. He made us all realize that our judgements and perceptions are ludicrous. I loved his relationship with the pitbull as well. He had me laughing so hard I was crying. My husband and I got the chance to chat with Marty and Jody at the aftershow gathering. So great job to Marty and Jody and we are excited about anything and everything you accomplish from here on out!

  3. I was sitting next to the men who left in the middle of Burr’s set. One of them shouted “Homophobe” as he left…in frustration about the long string of gay-related jokes. Kinda took some of the fun out of it for me, I felt bad for them.

  4. Bill Burr had my girlfriend and I laughing so hard, we were in tears! The last time that happened to me was watching George Carlin’s sanitized version of his epic Class Clown release on the Flip Wilson Show in 1971. Burr’s rapid-fire delivery that piled layer upon layer of the last comment didn’t allow a break to catch your breath. What a way to go.

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