Old New Again

Well-worn irony is still the de facto tone for many stand-up comedians, while the Internet and Adult Swim have championed a type of comedy that resides somewhere between Dada and Jackass. Bearing that in mind, it may appear that there isn't much demand for an old-school observational comedian. And while it's true that observational comedy is in a fallow period, comics like Chris Porter endure, trying to rehabilitate the form after years of hack stand-ups who pandered to the lowest common denominator. He succeeds thanks to a down-home style honed in his native Midwest, lending him an affable air even when he gets rough. Porter may be down-home, but he's no idiot, and he kills with the wry wit familiar in the flyover states. Though he's now sober -- a frequent topic in his act -- there's still a hint of the loopy stoner's cadence and sensibility in Porter's jokes. It's an approach that's working out: He was a finalist on season four of Last Comic Standing, and he makes regular appearances on The Bob and Tom Show and Live at Gotham. He recently appeared in his own Comedy Central special, the proverbial brass ring for struggling stand-ups. Despite the observational style becoming something of an anachronism, Porter is ascendant, demonstrating that there's still life in the form.
Oct. 27-30, 8 p.m.; Oct. 29-30, 10 p.m., 2010

 
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