It was a fine compromise for missing the comedy show to watch it uncomfortably from the comfort of my home. Angled on my smart phone, craning my head and hand to share it with my cuddled up boo. Flummoxed by the unavailability to load it up on my PS3 or my Roku* or Apple TV (one of the three that I actually owing). Ignoring the obvious solution to use my laptop and HDMI converter. Such is modern comedy.
SeeSo has been hitting my favorite podcasts’ ad spots hard, offering everything from Monty Python to Saturday Night Live to Kids In The Hall to other funny white people. The thing that intrigued me most when I plopped down my 3.99 this month was the potential for live comedy, something that I was hipped to by my buddies at Rooftop Comedy, something that I bailed on seeing live to lounge on my couch.
After a cursory e-mail I was told the stream would go live at 7pm (PST). I waited for a notification from the SeeSo app. Homie left me hanging. It has become clear that the app/service is in its very early stages and will hopefully become more invasive and annoying over time. I’d love to see what must-see Saturday Night Live sketch is trending while I’m at brunch the next day. You know, first-world solutions.
Working my way back through the initial e-mail and loading the service to my phone’s native browser, I was in a comedy club (from my home!)
The Barrel House in San Francisco looked good. Like, really good. The folks over at Rooftop Comedy have a tip-top production. I was blown away. Everything looked so crisp, sounded so good. It was like any television broadcast or HBO/Netflix special, with the familiar visual language of multiple cameras and audience cutaways, with a few flubs and stammers affirming the spontaneity. Really exciting stuff. Imagine all the SXSWs or Comedy Days or Del Close Marathons or other once in a lifetime events you’re too far or too broke or too busy to be physically there for? Even if there’s no recording available afterwards (or it’s available for a limited amount of time), the sense of being on the inside of something, an early adopter, in-the-know, is a highly valuable proposition.
Because this is a show I would have paid money to see. Other than the big festivals or a few one-off engagements, San Francisco is on the outs of seeing headliner-after-headliner-after-headliner showcases that our friends in NY and LA—they’re not our friends—see on a nightly basis. Erin Foley’s talent was a revelation, Maria Bamford made my spirit soar; it was weird seeing Kaseem Bentley in my living room but he looked nice! Live At The Barrel, seemingly experimental in its tentative rollout, won’t make me forgo seeing comedy live (because there’s better cocktails at real bars and “date nights” don’t get as easy as going to a comedy show), but I do love the little pocket of cool that I got from watching it.
*Note: SeeSo now has a Roku channel.