Last weekend, after watching the sad, unnecessary rehashing of tired schtick that was the Cheech & Chong Roast, I needed something to cleanse my comedic palette. Thankfully, I stuck around to watch this year’s Laffapalooza special – hosted by the ever-crazy Tracy Morgan – and got a heavy dose of the laugh medicine.
Jamie Foxx started Laffapalooza in Atlanta a few years back as part of the annual Comedy Festival, in which the big-sluggers and coattail-riders of comedy head out to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and celebrate the funny.
After a high-energy opening set consisting of an updated take on his usual hilarious/borderline creepy sex talk ("We got Obama in the White House – Cadillacs for everybody!"), Tracy Morgan introduced a heavy-hitter showcase of top comedians including Lavell Crawford, Mark Curry, Earthquake, Corey Holcomb and Sheryl Underwood. Foxx made an appearance for the taping of the show, but didn’t perform.
Setting aside that Tracy Morgan seems out of his goddamned mind pretty much every time he’s onstage or onscreen, I couldn’t figure out if he’d just gained some weight, was high as a kite or halfway to belligerently drunk throughout the program. It wasn’t that he didn’t perform well – he killed, like he always does – but the bloated face and shifty, half-slitted eyes, as well as his total abandonment of the teleprompter at roughly the two minute mark indicated that Tracy was on his own planet.
Sheryl Underwood was introduced as a black Republican, and she stayed true to her intro by running through a barrage of borderline-expired material about John McCain and Sarah Palin in their GOP bid for the White House. Still brought the laughs, however, as did Earthquake, who arrived onstage with a Vegas showgirl on each arm. Corey Holcomb took things down a notch, which is to say that he wasn’t nearly as funny as the comics who came before him. Mark Curry followed delivering the best set of the night, reminding viewers like myself that there’s so much more to the man than "Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper." Lavell Crawford also came onstage with a showgirl on each arm, and proceeded to devote a big part of his set to his mother, who was sitting in the front row.
Morgan kept things loose between sets, keeping the audience on their toes. It translated well over the TBS airwaves – certainly better than the tired jokes about elderly potheads we sat through before the special.
Laffapalooza executive producers are Jamie Foxx and Marcus King of Foxx King Entertainment, Stu Schreiberg for Levity Productions and Ron Wilson for Laffapalooza! Productions.