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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chris Fairbanks Tells Liquid Audience It's Weird

Posted By on Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM

The human em dash, Chris Fairbanks, takes to the stage at Liquid.
  • JOSH GROSS
  • The human em dash, Chris Fairbanks, takes to the stage at Liquid Oct. 26.

Perhaps it's a sign of a mind overly cluttered with the names and dates of obscure cultural nonsense, but my favorite piece of punctuation has always been the em dash, that glorious disruptor of sentences that lobs chaotic asides into precisely crafted order.

Los Angeles comedian Chris Fairbanks' early set at Liquid Oct. 26 was in large part like watching one giant em dash.

The actual jokes Fairbanks fit into his set were finely crafted mind puzzles that left half the audience doubled over as the rest looked at one another confused.

But most of his set was awkward asides and riffs based off accidental use of slang from the 1800s, like consistent meta-commentary on his referring to "the barkeep." He even spun an entire bit out of mispronouncing various soups.

"This isn't like a play," Fairbanks said. "I mess around a lot. It's always different."

Some worked, some didn't, something Fairbanks attributed to the audience being weird. Of course, it's hard to see how a bit about announcing to an airplane that the cat you just let loose in the cabin has feline AIDS could go over the same way every night.

Fairbanks made it clear what he wanted out of the evening.

"Let's have our enjoyment affect the structural integrity of this building," he said.

I can't speak for the rest if the audience, but that was certainly my experience. But then again, I love the em dash.

Fairbanks will performing at Liquid through Sunday, Oct. 28. Tickets are available at the door for $10.

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