STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Natasha Leggero

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We have been saying it for weeks, but Under The Gun Review is undergoing an evolution of sorts and part of this change involves the unveiling of many new, recurring features. Today we are continuing the debut one of our most anticipated features, a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny.

This week, we are putting a spotlight on Natasha Leggero and her latest special, Coke MoneyIf you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

Stand-up comedy has always been an industry dominated by males, with the errant hilariously funny female creeping into it once in a while.  But despite the talents of such queens of comedy as Lisa Lampinelli and Margaret Cho, stand-up comedy continues to be a massive sausage party, partly in thanks to actresses-turned-comediennes such as Natasha Leggero.

Perhaps it was her holier-than-thou stint as a judge on season seven of Last Comic Standing – or those god awful gloves – that left me with a horrid, lackluster opinion of Leggero and her comedy, but five attempts later and I still can’t make it all the way through Coke Money (Leggero’s latest release).

Released in March 2011, Coke Money is nothing more than an attempt to ride the coat-tails of LCS’s success.  A relative unknown in stand-up, Leggero gained most of her success as an actress, with appearances in Reno 911, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (one of the strippers), and last year’s He’s Just Not That into You. A regular panelist on ‘Chelsea Lately’, Leggero left many LCS fans wondering just how she managed to secure a spot on the show’s judging panel.

More specifically, how does an actress who isn’t that funny get selected to tell other people whether or not they’re funny?

I won’t go as far as to say that Natasha isn’t funny at all – clearly she is, otherwise she never would have been shoved down our collective throats.  But good comedy is about relativity – how much of a comedian’s act fans can empathize with – and that’s something that is drastically missing with Leggero.

Right from the start of Coke Money, Leggero’s off-putting, spoiled-brat tone of voice feels better suited for daytime television than for comedy, as she airily talks about fur, diamonds, and being hot.

“The only way I know I how to make a diamond is to jerk off an old man,” Leggero opens with.

Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.

Leggero’s tone of voice and attitude throughout Coke Money reeks of disinterest – she doesn’t care if you’re laughing or not.  This indifference may work for some comedians, but with Leggero it’s the comedic equivalent of her standing on stage with her hands over her ears yelling, “Lalalalala, I can’t hear you!”

What works for other successful comics is a level of either likeability or pity – what audience doesn’t appreciate a well-crafted, truly self-deprecating line of humor? Instead, Leggero ostracizes fans by placing herself above them and broadcasting the type of ‘hot popular chick who is used to getting what she wants’ attitude.   While that may work on the casting couch, it doesn’t really go far with true stand-up fans.

In Coke Money, Leggero jokes about LA gangs, crackheads and hip-hop music as if none of these topics had been beaten to death by comedians years ago.  So badly was I hoping for that moment, roughly 45-minutes into the album, where she surprised me – the moment in which she finally hooked me to her side, but alas – I was not so lucky. There’s nothing truly original in Leggero’s work – it’s run of the mill open-mic humor that gets by simply on Leggero’s looks.

Does comedy need to fill its gender quota so badly that we’re willing to lower the bar on what is considered hilarious?

Written by: Angela Frissore

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  • Steve

    Leggero is very funny.

    Margaret Cho?