Monthly show Don’t Think Once! at Union Hall showcases local yet accomplished performers wherein the format rotates between stand-up, storytelling, musical comedy, sketch comedy, and improv comedy each month. Produced and hosted by up-and-coming New York comedian, Brandon Collins, the theme isn’t revealed until the show begins, but rest assured, anyone who attends is in for some serious laughs.
The most recent show on February 6th had a storytelling theme and featured comedians Mike Feeney, Justin Brown, Sydnee Washington, Ophira Eisenberg, Menuhin Hart, and Josh Gondelman. While each comedian told stories from their life with widely varying topics, they also showcased their developing mastery of storytelling with hilarious details and subtle nuances that transported the audience to their excerpt-in-time.
Brandon Collins opened the show and revealed his unexpected nerdiness right away. He made the audience feel comfortable as he nonchalantly relived brief stories from the past few years and disclosed embarrassing yet relatable facts about himself. In a combination of laughing with him and laughing at him, the audience slowly realized what they were in for.
Next comedian, Mike Feeney energetically told a story of the greatest heist of all-time: two carpets from a restaurant that shall not be named. He used his physical height and his deep-rooted passion to deliver an in-your-face story that kept the audience on their toes.
Justin Brown followed with a story that was ominously dubbed “know your worth.” He used his casual tone and slower-speed delivery to tell an intimate story and keep the audience guessing, all the while inserting non-sequiturs with precision for maximum hilarity.
Sydnee Washington approached the stage and married her appearance with the theme of her story: she’s been through some sh*t. Earnestly telling a story that would make your most outrageous Saturday night look tame, she coaxed the audience into uproarious laughter following a series of gasps, and ended by comforting the crowd with “I’m having a blast.”
Ophira Eisenberg took over to casually relive a cringe-worth story from her adolescence. Complete with cackle-inducing nuances and cadence shifts, she proved that even as a typical awkward and insecure teenager, she still had more confidence than the rest of us.
Next, Menuhin Hart forcefully recounted the most controversial story of the night. Subject matter aside, he used his animated, direct, and bold comedic style to transform a morbid scenario into an unexpectedly hysterical and wild ride.
Josh Gondelman closed the show with a soft and endearing energy, narrating a story from his recent nuptials. His on stage persona complemented his intellectual humor and amplified each section of his story.
Overall, Collins did an excellent job maintaining the storytelling theme with his own quick-bit stories in between while also continuing to reflect on each comedian’s distinctive style. As a whole, the performers of the night subtly acknowledged both the inherent differences and relative sameness of individuals in this game called life.
Look out for the next Don’t Think Once show at Union Hall in March.