If you saw Saturday Night Live cast member Chris Redd on a mixed bill at a comedy club, he’d be the highlight of your night. But does he have a show? He does not. The Chicago man’s set is billed Why Am I Like This?, and for about three minutes, that title makes sense, as Redd touches on his family background, a rare kid in his neighbourhood with two parents rather than one. But the rest of the show? Well, Redd says it better than I can: “I’m just throwing random jokes at y’all while I figure out what to do next.”
That remark is characteristic: the 37-year-old gives us a running commentary with the crowd and directionless fragments of standup. Redd picks up on a piece of audience chat, spins it into a funny remark, then lets it fizzle out. You can enjoy his easy manner, infectious self-amusement and his stoner extemporising. An impressive chunk of the gig is off-the-cuff; his crowd-work isn’t just a palate cleanser, it’s the whole show. But even improv benefits from a structure, or some sense of accumulation. Here, nothing develops.
It’s an extended club set without shape or momentum, but with a fair few likable riffs, as Redd talks about recent experiences of therapy, getting high on a plane, and his blind masseuse. There’s a questionable routine demonstrating that, while “I truly don’t believe in hitting women”, he’s often tempted; and, by his own admission, some not exactly cutting-edge observations about Where’s Wally. It adds up to nothing whatsoever, but there’s some fun along the way.