Posts Tagged ‘Maeve Higgins’

Action from the Laugh Section

Monday, March 21st, 2011


Dave Hill at Saturday Sessions, MOMA/PS1

“…by John Lennon…”

“…is almost impossible to masturbate to.”


So went the pervy confessionalia of Dave Hill, a mumblecore loner whose favorite thing to do after sexual intercourse is “step out from behind the curtain to laugh at the naked people,” who recounted a weekend tryst with a Japanese toilet (for those in the know, Japanese toilets are high-tech, easily available, and intimately ac-“commod”-ating, no pun intended). Referring to the customizable, automated bidet, he recalled, “It touched me like this,” rolling his pointer finger like a caterpillar reaching for a leaf – and then told how he utilized the toilet functions designed “for woman parts.”

Mr. Hill, whose drawn face and flexi-finger I won’t forget any time soon, was part of last weekend’s Saturday Session at MOMA/PS1. That session in particular was curated by Miriam Katz, an Artforum editorial researcher, Hunter College graduate student, and weekend comedienne. Described as “experimental comedy,” though more comedic than experimental, the event also included live performances by Jon Glaser, Jenny Slate, and Reggie Watts, as well as newly commissioned videos by Maeve Higgins and Rory Scovel. (My apologies to those last two, whose videos I wish I could have watched on the monitors on opposing walls. Sadly, the sold-out event was just too crowded, and I couldn’t get close enough to view them. Luckily, a quick youtube search makes up for this.)

Jon Glaser, wearing a green mask like the Green Hornet (vintage, not the husky Rogen fail) also took the priapic prompt, though his penis-humor was more sweet and family-friendly than prurient and late-night.

Jon Glaser

But it wasn’t just the guys with minds in the gutter. Jenny Slate, better known as the voice of Marcel the Shell hilariously revealed to us her twisted brain’s fusing of Y2K meltdown with an imaginary sexual predator: “a rogue ATM would kick in my dorm room door and [NSFW].” She described – and reenacted – her childhood Lolita, imitated her angel-voiced Dad who wails like a Disney heroine, and argued for her unusual vulnerability to kidnapping.

Jenny Slate

Humorous in a more arch, ironic, and gently acerbic manner was the boom-bap teddy bear, Reggie Watts. If you didn’t get enough from the previous posting, here is another video.

Framing his live music-based performance in the tradition of John Cage (pronounced “kah-ZHAY”) whose work he suavely and concisely explained as being less about the notes and more about the space in between, he ruminated aloud about performance versus “performance” (ya dig?), invoked Ghost in the Shell, and led us into a rhetorical ambush about metaphysically simulated reality, a la Brains in a Vat. Heavy! No wonder he has that thicket of curls, must be to insulate such a probing brain. He’ll be in next autumn’s Performa Biennial, let’s check in again then.

Reggie Watts at Saturday Sessions, MOMA/PS1

What could live comedy have to do with the art world? Don’t we prefer our jokes painted or printed onto canvas? It must have something to it, because I saw such art world professionals as David Velasco, Mark Beasley, Eliza Ryan, Sam Wilson, and many other artists, too. Maybe everybody needed a weekend pick-me-up after being justifiably depressed by all the bad news coming from, well, every other continent. Turn that 🙁 upside down. Or not.