Kelly Sandberg/HIGHLANDER
Kelly Sandberg/HIGHLANDER

There’ve been nine previous apocalypses at the Barn and somehow we’ve survived all of them. How did they come to be, though, and could the Comedy Apocalypse succeed in finally annihilating the human race? Prior to the show, I asked an eager attendee what his feelings were before it all began. He said, “If I don’t laugh, there’ll be some heavy repercussions.” It was then that I knew that if the four comedians featured at tonight’s Comedy Apocalypse could not bring joy through laughter to this student, he would lash out to at a devastating degree. Yet in the face of disaster, Shane Mauss, Brent Weinbach, Ron Funches and Nate Bargatze stared the apocalypse in the face — and made us laugh.

Mauss started off the show and dipped in and out throughout the night as MC. He warmed up the audience quite well prior to Weinbach, but he truly showcased his material with a drug monologue highlighting psychedelic mushrooms. If any audience members might have been curious about the drug, some of Mauss’ material might have turned them away as he yelled and balled up in pain onstage in an amusing interpretation of a bad trip.

Mauss preheated the audience for some cold, deadpan-style comedy from the following act. Weinbach, creator of the popular Internet video “Gangster Party Line” (which played prior to the show), brought a deadpan set that took some audience members for a loop. He had self-deprecating material that took the audience back to Weinbach’s days as an Oakland teacher. A little after he began, he asked a young boy and his parents at the front of the stage if his material would be okay for the boy to hear, unknowingly creating material for the later comics. Weinbach’s performance was truly highlighted by his live onstage answering of “Gangster Party Line” callers, where he’d stop his act once a caller rang in and he’d answer with, “Wassup bitch!” For a period of time, three or four callers would try to get in and “talk shit” with Weinbach himself. One particular caller answered and insulted Weinbach for a couple minutes, as the comedian fumbled for insults to the point where he accidentally called his own mother an “asshole.”

Funches was the third comic onstage and an obvious audience favorite. He had a soft-spoken, slow style that was punctuated by his schoolgirl-like giggle. To the discomfort of the young boy in the front row, he began his set by questioning his participation and presence, attempting to connect through video games like Pokemon, but the boy was surprisingly a Counterstrike player. Funches had the audience enveloped in his presence, to the point where he could make jokes about stabbing twins in the skull for not being individuals, and questioning why he can’t watch the “Cinnamon Angel” Hispanic boy dancing outside his apartment to the latest pop hits without being labeled a pedophile. He was rapping on stage, expressing his insecurities with the n-word, and overall presenting a fresh comedic aesthetic with an array of topics. There was a joke about BMG Music Group, to the bewilderment of a lot of the younger audience, but those who knew the topic were laughing hysterically. He was definitely my favorite comic of the night and I believe much of the present audience would agree.

Bargatze was the last comic to the take the stage on an attempt to continue the energy brought by Funches. A previous Comedy Apocalypse participant, this comedian put forth an amateurish style, openly questioning himself as to which joke he should tell next. Although not as funny as Funches, Bargatze had a plethora of jokes about his weight, comparing himself to Funches’ physique. Unlike many, if Bargatze could go back to his peak physical form, he said he’d have to go back to the age of 7. He blames these insecurities on Under Armour shirts that show “every imperfection on my body,” saying he’d look better shirtless than in an Under Armour shirt — all in all, a solid performance by the headlining Bargatze.

As one of the more well-rounded Comedy Apocalypses, the laughs were plenty. It was a great night of comedy, well worth the breaking of curfew even for young audience members. Our anonymous attendee even enjoyed his time there, citing Bargatze as his favorite comedian of the night. So, until the next collective earth-shattering belt of laughter is expelled, Comedy Apocalypse 10 will go down in history as an event of biblical proportions.