TAMPA — The danger in reviewing The Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival Friday night at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre: Trying to be funny while writing about comedians Louis C .K., Aziz Ansari, Chris Hardwick, Marc Maron, Hannibal Buress and Reggie Watts.
In a newspaper.
These men are professionals. Trying to match wits would be suicide.
(Yes, men. Fourteen men. Apparently there were no female comedians willing or able to come to Tampa to tell jokes to thousands of potential lightning victims about humidity, fat girls and Ebola.)
So instead, I’ll list the off-color and laugh-even-though you-feel-a-little- guilty-about-it cultural references of host and celebrity roaster extraordinaire Jeffrey Ross. Or at least the ones moderately suitable for a newspaper audience:
Christian Mingle hookups; Tampa is the strip club capital of the world; a 68-year-old prostitute with one good ear; pot brownies; Donald Sterling; Tinder; the Pope on Twitter; Malaysian Air Lines; kids in hot cars with windows up; Howie Mandela; Steve Jobs; cancer; Gary Coleman; aneurisms; “Diff’rent Strokes”; Betty White; Craigslist; and “my dad’s pinkie.”
Wait. This isn’t working, either. You had to be there. It was funny.
How about some punch lines?
Maron: “Empathy means being able to put yourself in the place of the person you’re yelling at.”
Watts: “Are you guys looking forward to Dave Chapelle?”
Buress: “I love steroids. Thank you, athletes, for taking them. Thank you for sacrificing your long-term health for my short-term entertainment.”
Then there was an intermission.
Then a deejay spun some ‘90s songs.
I’m sure there were more punch lines and stellar, hilarious sets after that point by Chris Hardwick, Ansari and C.K., but a security official told me to either stop using my phone to write this review or leave the facility.
So I left.