Tuesday night, TBS Just for Laughs Chicago launched the festival with a home run by presenting "The Conan Writers Live at the Laugh Factory." The show was hosted by Chicago native and Conan writer Deon Cole. Other writers and Conan staffers on the show included Brian Kiley, Laurie Kilmartin, Andres du Bouchet, Josh Comers, Todd Levin, Jesse Popp, Rob Kutner, and Dan Cronin. There was also a special guest appearance by Conan opening act and Never Not Funny podcast titan Jimmy Pardo.
Every Conan employee was as charmingly witty and unique as the next. The audience engaged and relished in what each performer brought to the table.
Deon Cole hosted the show and delivered his jokes with a warm, nonchalant, but confident ease. He quickly got the audience ready for the show and set the tone with the same abundant writing chops that earned him an on the spot job offer from Conan after a stand up performance on the show.
All of the writers held their own and conveyed why it is that they were asked to write for one of the most relevant television personalities in the past two decades.
Laurie Kilmartin and Josh Comers had two of the more memorable bits of the night.
Laurie compared the reaction of sympathy from her lady friends, after telling them she caught her boyfriend cheating on her, to having her guy friends react by asking her such questions as "how?" Kilmartin's contagious smile, combined with her blunt honesty, made her a crowd favorite.
Josh took on quite the risky subject in his bit, but built an awkwardly relatable premise around it to achieve a grand pay off. He discussed how having a landlord who survived the Holocaust was "good for her, but awkward for me." He went on to explain that because after what she went through, the only good enough reason to ask for her help was if "I had a Holocaust in my apartment."
Possibly the most unique performance of the night came from special guest and Chicago native Jimmy Pardo. Pardo's beyond hilarious off-the-cuff stream of consciousness and good-spirited audience beratement is why he's been Conan's opening act since the Tonight Show. Tuesday night at the Laugh Factory the audience was strongly delt his calling cards.
Jimmy verbally chastised an audience member because he didn't like his level of participation, then took it up a notch when he learned the audience member used two L's to spell his name instead of one (Allan). It's his full-speed ahead approach to comedy that's earned him a large and loyal base of podcast fans.
If you missed out on Tuesday's show, there may be a few tickets left to Deon Cole & Friends Live at the Laugh Factory Wednesday night at 7:30 pm. This show will include many of the Conan writers from Tuesday's show.