Separately, Jeff Ross and Dave Attell are both veteran standups known for their quick wit and biting comedy. Together, they are a one-two punch who seem to want to make each other laugh as much as the audience. Saturday night, they accomplished both.
The pair recorded a Netflix special last year called “Bumping Mics,” a comedy form of a high-five they’d give each other after a particularly good line. I enjoyed it so much that when I saw they were in town, I went to see them in person.
Usually, a headliner will perform an hour of material they’ve honed on the road, perhaps with a few minutes of new material weaved in along the way. I have no idea how much of what Ross and Attell did onstage was prepared or, at the very least, jokes they’d stored away in their mental filing systems, ready to be recalled at a moment’s notice. But they sure made it look like they were ad-libbing their way through a lot of it as they poked fun at each other, as well as various news items, Trump, and sex. The latter was a running topic through the night, hysterical even in its raunchiness.
Ross has a reputation as the Roastmaster General, having participated in or hosted many of the Comedy Central roasts of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Hugh Hefner to Trump, as well as Roast Battles and standup specials in a prison and at the US-Mexico border. Both of the latter showed his very human side as well as his ability to insult anyone about anything.
Attell’s reputation is that of the quintessential New York comic, a guy who has spent his life onstage, a brilliant joke-telling professional with split-second timing who constantly comes up with cutting remarks while almost never breaking up.
Comics like these rarely laugh out loud. Instead, when they hear something original and funny, their response might be something along the lines of “Good one!” That’s why it’s a pleasure when they show their appreciation for each other by bumping mics. Still, there were some beautifully delivered Attell lines that had Ross doubled over in laughter, an acknowledgement that he was working with a master.
Anyone who attends a Ross and Attell show must know there’s a chance they’ll be dragged into the comedy line of fire. Early in the show, Ross and Attell ventured up the aisles to comment on various audience members, and towards the end of the show, Ross brought a half-dozen volunteers up for a Speed Roast round, aided by Attell’s running commentary from stage left.
I can’t quote a single thing either Ross or Attell said, because each line was followed so quickly by a topper or a tangent. Not everything landed, but they they had a pretty high percentage of truly funny remarks in the massive amount of material they spewed over an hour.
Ross and Attell delivered comedy in high levels of quality and quantity, sending me home with a big smile on my face. I’d gladly give their mics a bump of approval.