Dave Martin and Alan Park: for the record with Martin and Park, hosted by Gord Disley, Thursday-Friday (April 10-12) at 9 pm, Saturday (April 12) at 10:30 pm. $10. Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). 416-343-0011.
You'd think the war would be good for stand-up comedy, right? Think again."Too many comics feel obliged to comment on it, even if they don't have anything to say," says Alan Park, arguably the cleverest political stand-up (I'd put Gord Disley in the same league) in the city.
"They talk about it, then move on. So by the time you come on with an opinion, the crowd's exhausted."
"Yeah, I hope this war ends, so we can get all uneducated opinions off the stage," jokes fellow stand-up Dave Martin. "Including mine."
The two comics, both regulars at Yuk Yuk's and edgy clubs like the ALTdot and Pirate Video Cabaret, share a stage for three shows this weekend to tape individual comedy CDs. Disley, by the way, is hosting.
Park started off eight years ago doing silly, tangential stuff.
"I was the party clown, I had no point of reference," he admits. That all changed when he took a self-imposed sabbatical. Ironically, he began working on his all-new material the day before 9/11.
Then things began to fall into place.
"Look at what's happened since then," he says, his eyes opening bigger, slightly crazed.
"I don't like the term "conspiracy theory,' but you should be allowed to connect things and make jokes about them."
Why weren't there investigations into the four airplane crashes? Why was it assumed that anthrax was a terrorist follow-up, when it eventually leaked back to a military-industrial complex? Why do we know more about Robert Blake than the snipers?
"Look at (ex-NBC journalist) Peter Arnett," continues Park. "He just got fired. Why? He was saying this cakewalk of a war was going to take much longer than that, and everyone's so surprised he got fired. Add things up. He was working for NBC, which is owned by GE. GE manufactures weapons. He was effectively an arm of the Pentagon.
"The media doesn't make any of these connections, but if you talk about it all of a sudden you have opinions. I don't have answers. But I have a lot of questions that aren't being asked."
There's little crossover between Park's slick, intense act -- he sounds like a smart radio DJ -- and Martin's slightly angry slice-of-life rants. Which makes them a suitable pair for a bill.
"I think I remind people of that record store employee who ignores them," says Martin. "You know, they're trying to find that DVD or box set, and I go, "Yeah, it's over there,' then walk away. I suppose I'm a smartass."
His bits are always darkly funny and betray a twisted imagination. For instance, he recently pointed out that a wheelchair-bound Christopher Reeve was at Times Square for New Year's Eve when the ball dropped. Why didn't they just hoist Reeve up there and watch him drop instead?
"He could be in a big Superman parachute, and people would cheer because he'd be so close to flying again."
It's a joke that's received hisses along with laughs. Same thing with his joke about the homeless.
"No one says, "Some of my best friends are homeless,' because what sort of fuckin' friend would you be?" goes that joke. "What, you're going to have a couple of beers with homeless Joe at the bar and grill, then get back into your SUV and drive to the suburbs while Joe crawls under a bridge?
"I think it's better to piss people off, get some emotion, than have them chuckle and forget you," says Martin.
Want more? Check out the act. Or wait til the disc shows up at HMV. Just don't expect Martin to show you where to find firstname.lastname@example.org