There are many tricks to a successful stand-up comedy performance, especially a one-man show. That's why it takes comics so long to get known by the general public. Stand-up comic Tom Papa has mastered the most difficult of these tricks: balance.
The Richard Jeni One Person Show at Just For Laughs is an occasion for a comic to own his own stage. Last year was Danny Bhoy, previous years featured Tommy Tiernan and John Pinette. Tom Papa more than lived up to that level of excellence.
Papa is an autobiographical comic whose comedy comes from being married, having two daughters, two female cats, and basically functioning without much of a clue as to what happened to him. Yes, this sound like your basic stuff but this comedian's version manages to go beyond the character and reach the people in the audience.
What most impressed me about this Just For Laughs performance was the perfect balance the comic achieved in his one person show. This is not squeaky clean comedy but it is also not foul language vulgar. It is funny stand-up material yet it is real.
The greatest moment in this show is when Papa tells the story about his best friend when he was a kid. The audience is with him and laughing along at this funny but not earth shattering bit but then Papa takes an audience that was laughing along with this funny guy and turns them dead silent with empathy. He immediately yanks them back to "Hey, this is stand-up guys!" but something special and very different has just happened.
Tom Papa's one-man show is more than your standard stand-up.
Other Tom Papa Reviews
Live In New York City: Excellent, Cosby style and like family man stand-up with mild adult references and language.
Calm, Cool, & Collected: a solid comedy CD that easily survives a few listenings
Freaked Out: More serious, a bit more mature language, still very funny stand-up comic.