'The Hard Times' Live
w/ Rhea Butcher, Dave Ross, Brandie Posey, Chris Estrada, Tim Kasher (Cursive, Good Life)
Hosted by Hana Michaels, John-Micheal Bond, Goodrich Gevaart
The Nerdmelt Showroom
Los Angeles, CA
February 19, 2017
By Nick Geracie
On Sunday night, through the double doors of Meltdown Comics in the Nerdist Showroom, satirical punk magazine The Hard Times debuted The Hard Times Live to a crowd decked in plaid, windbreakers, and vans. Armed with a lineup of comics, a cello player, and a projector, The Hard Times Live did what it does best - mix comedy with punk culture to elicit roars of laughter.
Despite being a primarily stand-up comedy event, HTL was punk to the core. I expected that I’d be required to pick up some kind of press pass, but instead received a Homer Simpson stamp from the friendly staff at Meltdown Comics - they said that would be “all I would need.” The doors opened at 8:00pm and I stepped into a dark, intimate room. I was met with rows of chairs, a small black stage with a few microphones, and a dark projector screen.
The quality of performance was clearly prioritized over production value, and for a punk event, that paid off in spades. Co-hosts and Hard Times writers John-Michael Bond and Hana Michels warmed up the crowd with several Jeff Foxworthy-inspired lines as an introduction - “If you’ve ever had to kick someone out of an illegal venue, you might like the Hard Times” - before Goodrich Gevaart stormed the stage to debut his alter ego, self-proclaimed inventor of hardcore AND straight-edge Tommy Crowbar.
The standup lineup was a myriad of styles and moods, with co-host Bond stealing the show with his infections erraticism. Cursive’s Tim Kasher starred in an improv game in which he had to awkwardly respond to Youtube comments about his music [accompanied by a single cello for maximum awkwardness], and acclaimed comic and writer Rhea Butcher closed out the night to thundering applause.
The Hard Times Live was everything it should have been - punks making other punks laugh about punk stuff. Bond teased a follow up event, closing out the night with, “We’re having another one of these, probably next month...we don’t know when or where...bye!” Punk rock, indeed.
I don’t know what the future holds for The Hard Times in a live setting, but there’s not a single comedy event in the world that better represents the punk rock spirit.