Comedian Ryan Hamilton visited Madison this past weekend for three nights of his trademark clean, outrageously fun comedy.
It’s safe to say many in the Comedy on State audience had seen his Netflix special “Happy Face,” and Hamilton was aware, as he made sure to deliver an all-new blend of material.
The 42-year-old veteran comedian — who’s entering the prime of his career, riding the success and popularity of his 2017 special — weaved his way through his thoughts on sugar, the high standards comedians face in understanding others’ not-so-great jokes and his run-ins with the other Ryan Hamilton on Facebook.
His jokes ebbed and flowed in a free-flowing comic rhythm, bouncing from observations the audience could easily access to his own ludicrous takes on what makes them so funny.
Hamilton, who isn’t particularly known for his crowd-work, proved he’s got those chops as well.
He seemed genuinely mystified by a front-row patron’s vape and spent a few minutes shining his observational analysis light in that direction, to the raucous approval of the amiable crowd.
Hamilton emphasized the relationship between the length of a vape puff to the amount of vapor produced is absolutely astonishing, much to the delight of the cozy comedy cellar.
After his new material was finished, Hamilton beckoned to the crowd for questions.
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He was greeted by requests for his well-received material from the special and relented — treating the packed audience to a rendition of his hilarious gym membership cancellation joke.
In typical Hamilton fashion, the joke begins on a single premise — the irrational difficulty it takes to simply cancel one’s gym membership. The joke then evolves slowly into a Civil War correspondence letter between Hamilton and his former gym, which put the crowd in stitches.
Before seeing Hamilton last Thursday, I wondered if he’d have enough material to keep up with the high standards set by his special. After all, he told me last week his special was a batch of the highlights from his best jokes over the years up until this point. As a working comic for the last 15 years or so, it would make sense for his new material to pale in comparison to his crème de la crème special.
Instead, Hamilton proved to Madison the breadth of his talent, delivering an unbelievably funny night, setting an expectation that his next special could be even greater than his last.