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Comedian Chris Redd talks realism, realness at Bimbo’s 365 Club

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ARMAAN MUMTAZ | SENIOR STAFF

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Senior Staff

MARCH 01, 2022

In a dim, red room hung with swathes of rich velvet, millennials chatter at cocktail tables while snazzily dressed waiters circle Bimbo’s 365 Club. Paintings with graceful women are cast in shadow by candlelit tables as the dark and classy ambiance awaits the entrance of SNL comedian Chris Redd on his “Why Am I Like This?” stand-up tour.

On stage, a simple standing microphone is backlit by red lights. The crowded room rolls with chatter,  and cocktail glasses clink before the lights fall: Redd’s opener, stand-up comic Brandi Denise, enters with explosive energy in a fabulous bright blue sweatsuit.

Denise begins with a geographic tracing of her history to whooping from the crowd. Her first time in San Francisco, Denise explains the Chicago connection between her and Redd before delving into the fakeness of the alleged “manifest motherfers” in her current city of residence, Los Angeles.  

With off the cuff commentary about the audience, Denise rails about judginess in the United States and how people can make up their own minds independently. Her vibracy is infectious, as is her laugh. By the end of Denise’s warmup set, she has graded the audience’s energy with a humbling “B” before riling the crowd up and introducing the main event, her friend Redd.

As Redd saunters across the stage, Denise highlights his new show coming out on Peacock, “Bust Down.” Redd’s voice and cadence are magnetizing; in conjunction with his laid-back, amicable manner, he captivates attention and chats with the audience as if its members are his close friends.

Redd’s friendly enthusiasm carries throughout the entire set, especially as he laughs at his own jokes with the crowd. His stage presence is something to behold, as are his improvisational skills. After a sly slew of SF-based jokes, Redd begins to chat up individual members of the audience — starting with extensive flirting with Susan the architect in the front row, who had always wanted to be an astronomer.

As he delves into the specifics of astronomy, Redd makes a far-fetched joke about architecture, just spitballing, chuckling, “I don’t need to have facts”; and as a result, he can make a joke about “anything” — a claim he certainly substantiates throughout the evening.   

Redd’s comedy is about real life, which enables his gregarious demeanor and blunt honesty to deepen the personal impacts of his comedy. He slides hilarious, apparently spontaneous one-liners into the middle of his every narrative. Amid a story about his experiences in therapy with an older white woman, Deborah, he becomes derailed by high thoughts, halting the set to compliment a “swole” man in the crowd.  

All of this sentiment is incredibly relatable to the much-less-famous audience he spills his secrets to. He describes the pandemic’s impact on his mental health — it’s a “lonely virus” — while lamenting about how he is “not as famous as I thought I was” as he struggled to obtain a COVID-19 test in the early days of the pandemic.

His enticing inflection and tones of voice keeps listeners hanging onto his every word, especially as they try to catch the clever puns he sneaks into his set. He easily slips in and out of various personas, adding layers of character development to every anecdote.

Redd holds nothing back — he will tell you exactly what is on his mind, straight-up. His occasionally brutal honesty, however, is absolutely necessary to fulfill the apparent goal of his comedy: witty social commentary. 

As Redd goes on to comedically blitz love, family dynamics and race, the audience eats up his slice of the honest truth. He smoothly transitions from topic to topic by, again, saying absolutely anything. He riffs, he pokes, he prods, he roasts the hell out of the city of Danville and he disarms automatic social defense mechanisms and passive aggressive audience comments — all the while effectively highlighting lines of truth christened by lines of comedy.

Contact Katherine Shok at [email protected].
LAST UPDATED

MARCH 02, 2022


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