Figuring out how to get six people from four different families together for a night out on the town is no easy task. Fortunately The Stress Factory is there to lend a hand, providing the location, the drinks, the eats and the laughs.
We began when our overly efficient waiter zipped one of our beers away before we drank it. Other than that, the service was super friendly and effective, so choreographed as if it was part of the show. (They did bring a new beer). I thought of dinner as just something to line my stomach before accepting the two-drink minimum challenge, but it was actually a tasty and economical solution to the “how do we all meet up” before the show question.
We were at Vinnie’s fourth show of a five night stand. You would think he would be tired (a geezer by today’s standards) but the opposite is true, he is just hitting his peak. It helps that he no longer gives a fuck! It is a life philosophy that serves him well, and has you leaving the show not giving a fuck about whatever baggage you carried in. Politics, racism, kids today, whatever is eating at you, it is eating at Vinnie too-and he has no more fucks to give!
Vinnie worked the crowd with an especially funny “If you see something, say something” bit that killed. Part of his special comedic magic is the truth underlying most of what he points out about society. Profiling. Piercing. Race. Nothing is sacred. As you can see on the set list, he began by telling you “Don’t be offended.”
His ability to spot and select audience members that will either 1. eat out of the palm of his hand, replying in predictable ways that will give him the opportunity to advance through his plan or 2) say something so unpredictably shocking, which gives Vinnie the chance to do what he does best (winging it). People who were ‘hightlighted’ during the show were seen leaving with Stress Factory swag bags for their troubles; nothing says “I’m sorry” like a mug with someone else’s logo on it.
As a lifelong follower of Vinnie’s career (our dad’s were part of a trio of friends that snuck beers into each other’s coffins so they could enjoy them together in heaven), I had a front-row seat to watching Vinnie’s career grow like a “this is your life” episode. (Ask your grandparents). While older, tried and true material is always enjoyable, this new set is less about family and friends and more about the head scratching issues faced in society today.
A bit about tattoos provides a prime example of audience reaction. DTF (go ask your kids) was both an observation of todays tattoey peircey culture and an education on the type of slang one might see in an online dating profile. 50 percent of the crowd gasp-laughs-bellows and the rest shake their head in amused agreement.
At 54, there are a lot of things Vinnie no longer gives a fuck about. When you leave the Stress Factory after a night of laughter, you won’t give a fuck either, and that is the main point of comedy, right?