You've got to see this guy Grant Turner when he comes back again, several people told me after his first appearance in September at the Comedy Oasis. "A comic whose amazingly clever, clean and original sense of humor left me exhausted from laughing," was the way the Comedy Oasis brochure put it.
So it was with great expectations that I sat down to a night of stand-up on Saturday. And I wasn't exactly disappointed. But I didn't leave exhausted either, or even fatigued. Turner is indeed clever and clean and original. Just not side-splitting.He's at his best when he's gently poking fun at what sissies we've all become in America. He starts by doing a short re-enactment of pioneers riding across the plains in covered wagons, notes that we'd never even conceive of doing something like that now unless some major beer company sponsored it, then shows us how cranky we are these days if we even have to drive six hours with cruise control and adjustable seats. Six hours with our arms on an arm rest!
"That can get heavy, holding up your own body parts like that," notes Turner in his soft Georgia drawl.
"How was your trip?"
"Well, this got cold," he whines, pointing to a little patch on his arm where the oscillating air conditioning vent blew a little too much on one spot.
Turner also pokes fun at himself as the martyr during the birth of his son. It was his job, he explains, to spray his wife with mineral water every few minutes during her 14-hour labor. After a while he got a red spot on his finger, he says with a pout.
"For a while we thought it might blister up," he reports. "Could we put a monitor on it?" he asked the doctor.
With diapers weighing heavily on his mind and in his garbage these days, Turner devoted a sizeable chunk of his act to baby jokes. He also includes reminiscences of Little League and the terrors of growing up in a subdivision: "Every now and then we would get together and cut through a yard!"
The feature act was Bill Bronner, co-producer of the Comedy Oasis. Bronner wears 1950's Leave It To Beaver jackets, has a face that looks like it was drawn by a cartoonist and has a deadpan delivery. One-on-one in conversation, his drollness and wit make him a consistently funny fellow.
On stage, Bronner is less reliable, but when he's careful with his aim he hits the bull's eye. Take, for instance, his observation about Iraq, the price of oil and future aggression:
What he's noticed, he says, is that his car insurance is $110 a month, while he spends about $40 on gas. Which leads him to this conclusion:
"I think it would be a lot easier to just invade State Farm."