PIKE Comedy Night headliner Stephen Lynch has always embraced a form of humor that’s about more than just anecdotes, one-liners and silly insults. Lynch joins Tenacious D, Adam Sandler and Flight of the Conchords on the shortlist of comedians who gained popularity by performing with an acoustic guitar to complement their sidesplitting stories and punchlines.
PIKE Comedy Night 2010: Stephen Lynch
Tonight at 7:30 p.m.
At the Michigan
Tickets from $20
In an e-mail interview with the Daily, Lynch explained the fusion of music and comedy as an organic process that originated in the dorms of Western Michigan University.
“When all my friends (and) roommates at WMU — who were in bands — taught me how to play guitar … I would take what they taught me and make up songs to get them to laugh,” he wrote.
“It was easy because they were so stoned all the time,” he added.
Shortly after graduating in 1993 with a B.A. in Drama, Lynch headed out to New York where he worked and performed until he caught his first big break: a half-hour special for Comedy Central.
“I went from performing almost exclusively in the New York area to headlining rock clubs and theaters all over the U.S.,” he wrote.
Lynch went on to release two live recordings, a studio album and a greatest hits compilation before scoring a gig on Broadway as the lead role in “The Wedding Singer.”
2009 saw his return to the recording studio with the release of 3 Balloons, a collection of songs tackling controversial issues like AIDS and Anne Frank as well as light-hearted topics like mafia movies and Charlie Brown.
The album is ambitious in its instrumentation and song structures, employing a full band for a majority of the tracks as well as string and piano parts to add more texture and convey a fuller sound.
Much of Lynch’s lyrical content might be considered taboo, irreverent and even disturbing at times. But like most comedians, he doesn’t seem to care.
“Anything people hold sacred is funny to take the piss out of,” he wrote.
Growing up in Saginaw, Lynch has many fond memories of Michigan, including “summers at the beach (and) apple-picking in the fall.” In his return home, he will perform for a college audience, a crowd he’s grown accustomed to on past touring circuits.
“Most of the time, the shows are free to students,” he wrote. “So I tend to put on a real half-assed performance. You know, really give it 20 or 30 percent. Save the good stuff for the paying crowds.”
Fortunately (or unfortunately — depending on the size of your bank account), there is a fee attached to Lynch’s Ann Arbor show. But those hard-earned dollars you spend will go to Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation as part of Pi Kappa Alpha’s philanthropic work.
With this perfect combination of laugh-inducing multitasking and earthquake relief there’s really no excuse not to head over to the Michigan tonight to see a fellow Michigander thrive in the spotlight.