They say that the last avenue of free speech in America is the comedy stage. Aries Spears tried to make a case for that argument Thursday night, as he performed the first of six shows at Helium Comedy Club in Buffalo.
Spears was unafraid of any topic and unapologetic during his set, offering jokes about nearly every race, creed, nationality, and identity you can think of. Most of the raunchy set is unsuitable for print, but Spears frequently turned to words that have been essentially banned by polite society.
“Going to a comedy show is like going to see an R-rated movie,” Spears said. “You’ve got to prepare yourself to hear some (crazy stuff).”
Spears opened his set with a raunchy bit about worrying his daughter is growing up to be an adult dancer. The jokes were a hit with the crowd, who remained pretty rambunctious throughout the night.
Following his opener, Spears moved to a more serious side, as he directly addressed the reasoning of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Cool and confident in his words and opinion, Spears noted the different worldviews of whites and blacks, particularly when they are pulled over by the police. What was remarkable was that Spears didn’t tell a lot of jokes during this portion of his monologue, resembling more of a preacher than a comic, but the audience remained at full attention.
It wasn’t long after his speech that Spears turned his criticism toward Caitlyn Jenner and the transgender community. He also made light of special-needs people, fat women, Asian accents, how Africans look, and more.
I didn’t agree with all of it, but I did laugh at some of it. There’s no doubt about it: Spears is bold enough to tackle “political correctness” head on.
When he wasn’t taking a blowtorch to the sensibilities of the easily offended, Spears used his “MadTV” skills as an impersonator to hit some punch lines with strong accents and voice work. Bill Cosby was an easy target for Spears, he impersonated a pitch-perfect Sylvester Stallone from “Rocky III.”
As I mentioned, the crowd was pretty rambunctious, and some people were downright obnoxious with heckling and table talk. It ruined the rhythms of the opening acts – Mike Finoia and Tony Pusateri. While headliner Spears was able to control the room most of the time, even he had to stop to shush down a table.
Maybe a provocative comic draws provocative crowds, but nobody really wants to hear it from an audience member.