After a lovely Sunday afternoon of walking around the neighborhood, drinking outside and playing Scrabble at Abilene (Jonathan, I apologize, “wino” is actually in the OED), I returned home, put on my pajamas and opened up a fresh Netflick. My roommate was on the way to his shift at the Park Slope Coop, and I was all set to sit back, relax and enjoy some non-Food Network programming. But before I saw Coming Attraction #1, I got a phone call informing me that Michael Showalter, Eugene Mirman and some guys from Upright Citizens Brigade would be performing later on that evening at Union Hall. My roommate has just recently started enjoying Michael Showalter’s comedy, and was eager to attend. So I took my pajamas back off, put down my Netflick and once again vanished into the bustling Brooklyn biosphere.
Here at Brooklyn Skeptic, a lot has been written about Union Hall, as it is home to two bocce courts, and, according to some, a lot of assholes. Despite all of this, it can not be denied that Union Hall’s basement is a great place to see a live show. The way it is set up is kind of like your childhood neighbor’s basement. A small, old, room with folding chairs and comfy couches, it is truly an intimate and comfortable setting. I spent half the time I was down there waiting for my old neighbor’s mom to walk in with a bowl of cheese doodles and soda (what’s up Mrs. Stirparo?). We were there only about fifteen minutes early, but managed to get seats in the front row, looking at a small stage on which we could literally rest our feet.
The show was fun and relaxed. Michael Showalter came on first and warmed up the crowd, talking about his weekend and making fart jokes. He introduced a British comedian who I am pretty sure was funny, but I might have just been charmed by her accent. Eugene Mirman was really drunk and quite humorous as he went off on rants about how he hates various things. And the guys from UCB were there to plug their new show Human Giant, which is unfortunately airing on MTv, right between Pimp My Ride and My Sweet 16, I believe they said.
At one point, Michael Showalter was crouched down watching the show right next to my roommate, who nerdily kept poking me and smiling. The place is so casual that the comedians usually hang out there afterwards, talking with fans and drinking. This friendly atmosphere worked equally well when I saw Zach Galifianakis at the same venue. He was allowed to get close to his audience, which is essentially half of his show, as he frequently runs around berating people. Although I have never seen live music performed at Union Hall, I can only imagine that the area works well, allowing the audience to truly feel like their favorite band is playing at their basement party.
So for all of the nay-saying that seems to go on about Union Hall, don’t judge a bar by its cover (there is no cover, mind you). There may be some annoying people and some bocce hostility, but there aren’t many bars in Manhattan or Brooklyn that can stir such happy, warm and intimate feelings. And isn’t that what drinking on a Sunday is all about? No? Oh right. I’m just an alcoholic.
Read Full Post »