Crusher Comic, Papa's Comedy Cellar at the Deseret Inn, 50 W. 500 South, Friday and Saturday, 8 and 10 p.m. With Janine Gardner.
Mark Blutman is the cruise social director you never had. The camp counselor who wants to make sure you're having A Good Time. And you probably will.
Blutman, a.k.a. Crusher Comic, is fun. That he is sometimes more fun than funny doesn't seem to matter to the audience. His show at the new Papa's Comedy Cellar is high-energy entertainment. It's also pretty silly.
To start with, Crusher Comic does his act wearing a ski mask, yellow tights and sort of a tuxedo leotard. He's supposed to be a comedian/wrestler. He looks more like a man who decided to rob a 7-Eleven on the way to a costume party. The result is an evening of disjointed goofiness that won't give you any new insights about life, but will make you feel good.
The wrestler persona - rough and insulting - is dropped early on in Crusher's act. In its place we get Batman on speed.
Most of the show is a fast-paced interaction with the audience, but there are few jokes in the modern tradition of stand-up comedy. There is not one joke, for example, about McDonald's. In place of that we get Crusher's re-enactment of those old plate-spinning acts that we used to see on the Ed Sullivan Show.
This time, though, instead of spinning sticks we have spinning members of the audience. Wearing ski masks. With plates on their heads. Turning around as "Sabre Dance" plays in the background.
Crusher Comic is the opening show at Papa's Comedy Cellar, the newest of two new comedy clubs in Salt Lake. Owner Mark Frazier found Crusher at the Comedy Store in L.A., and says he will be bringing other Comedy Store discoveries to town.
For this weekend's middle act, though, Frazier didn't have to look farther than Salt Lake to find some great laughs. Local talent Janine Gardner, who has been touring the Midwest lately, pleased the crowd with her wry observations about the eccentricities of Utah culture.
Much of her material was a rerun of her recent debut at Symphony Hall, where she opened for Ray Charles. There were the Mormon jokes and the Catholic jokes and the joke about how she has chosen a more metaphysical approach to religion.
Metaphysics, explains Gardner, is the belief "that Shirley MacLaine will eventually lead us to Elvis."
But Gardner also had some new material, some of it bluer, for the nightclub audience, and some of it not.
"My sister has decided to be a surrogate," she tells the audience. "She's carrying cellulite for her neighbor."