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Neon Reverb brings comedy home

Bromance was in the air inside the El Cortez’s Fiesta Room on Friday night. From the mobile bar set up in the back to the drunk guests to the slightly cheesy banquet-hall feel, everything screamed wedding, especially the speeches.

Typical comedy show hosts give a standard line or two about the next comic, usually taken straight from a Wikipedia bio. Not so with Brandon “Gooch” Hahn, who introduced the comics at the Neon Reverb Comedy Homecoming 2 like he’d been the best man at each of their weddings.

You could really feel the love, especially when former Las Vegas comedian Bryan Bruner got to the part about how he planted a big wet one on his good friend Gooch instead of punching him during an argument once. Bruner recounted the entire story, beer in hand, much like an embarrassing best man speech at a wedding.

Hahn’s introductions throughout the night were the frosting on top of an already amazing comedy cupcake. Native son Bruner left Las Vegas for bigger things, but it’s always fun to see how much he has grown when he returns for these local gigs. It’s clear his experiences on the road have only sharpened his skills.

During his critique of social media he said, “MySpace is deader than Amy Winehouse … What? Too soon for a MySpace joke?” He also noted that Facebook is the new crack and that the audience was jonesing to update its statuses. He was right; I was dying to get on Facebook to tell the world how much I was enjoying the show.

Other comics on the bill included John Hilder, an amusingly irreverent comedian from Salt Lake, and Nathan Lund, a Denver-based comedian with an amazing beard and even better storytelling skills. Hahn introduced the final comic of the night, Las Vegas’ own Maddog Mattern, as “fast.” Given the description of the kiss from Bruner, my dirty mind first thought of “fast” in another sense. It turns out he was referring to Mattern’s unique rapid-fire approach to joke telling, in which he’s the director in a stream-of-consciousness film featuring audience members. After years of hearing about Maddog, it was fun to finally experience him. Note the verb there; one does not see or hear a Maddog show, one experiences it.

Hahn’s transitions between acts gave glimpses of his friendships with each of these men and the familial nature of the world of comedy. There were references to hot sisters, tender remembrances of dogs who had passed and acknowledgement of family members like Maddog Mattern’s grandmother, who sat through far more anal sex jokes than is probably safe for a woman of her age. In true family-of-a-comedian style, she was cracking up throughout the whole show. I can’t wait for the next installment of the Comedy Wedding, er, Homecoming.

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