Stand-up News
March 5, 2023


March 5, 2023

Mike Binder

Theo Von put on one hell of a show at the Wilbur tonight. One of like six or seven sold out shows he’s done there this week out of something like twelve concert venues he’s sold out this month in the Boston area alone. It’s pretty amazing. I’ve never seen Theo headline his own concert like that, and I have to admit I was more than a little surprised how impressed I was.


Don’t get me wrong. I know Theo’s a big shot. He’s just kind of a Comedy Store kid to me. A bit of a wounded duck or something. I love the guy, so much. When I got back to the store though, after all those years to do the doc, for some reason I knew him more as a guy that was friends with my son, Burt. I kind of know him out of the business too. On another level because we’re both dealing with stuff about being sober and trying to stay sober.  I never really listen much to his podcast. We did a piece on him and it in the Comedy Store doc and I didn’t really get why people were so into it but knew they were. It was obvious. We filmed him a few times at the store, in an interview setting and on stage in the main room. I thought he was really good. Strong with a lot of potential. I loved some of the stuff he did about his dad being really old when he was a boy. He was a rascal on stage. I related to that. When I was a kid, I was the rascal at the store.


I’ve listened to his podcast a few times recently and I have to say it’s growing a lot. At least on me it’s growing. The drawback to it is the same problem I have with him as a person. There’s a wall up a lot of the time where you always get the feeling you think he wants something from you or he thinks y0u’re going to take something away from him. Hurt him in some way. He doesn’t seem to want to let anyone really be nice to him. I get that vibe sometimes with the interviews. It’s a dance not to get too real. It can be a blur where he’s always in character as the ‘rat’, being so homespun, his guests never can really get to real or settled. It’s funny as hell, but there’s a vibe where you want to learn something on the next level.

The Louis C.K. interview was awesome. He and Louis really talked to each other. Theo was the best I’ve ever heard him be as an interviewer. He obviously respects the hell out of Louie, but that’s not the whole game with Theo. Respect isn’t enough. At the time he had Burr on I have to think he respected him, and that was a bit of a train wreck. (And it wasn’t all Theo’s fault that one.) He was so good with Louis because he let Louis in. He let him be nice to him. Compliment him. Talk about what Louis felt listening to his albums on Itunes. What Louis thought about comedy. He wasn’t suspicious about Louis. His guard was down. It was nice. Such a good interview.

His podcast is obviously a huge hit. He’s selling out these theatres like a stripper that won’t take money. Every seat is full. Every night.


I really was crazy about the set tonight at the Wilbur. I love to laugh out loud, hard. It’s not easy for a comic to make me laugh my ass off. A lot of acts make me giggle, chuckle. Nod a lot. Laugh in appreciation. Even wish I wrote some of the stuff which is the highest compliment I can think of. To laugh my ass off though? Consistently? For over an hour? Maybe Richard Pryor when I was kid at the Comedy Store. Burr used to always make me laugh so hard my stomach was sore. Constantly. I’d travel around with that guy and go to bed feeling like I’d done crunches. A couple times Whitney Cummings has made me laugh so loud I embarrassed my son. Brian Holtzman has made me lose it. Dane Cook.  Jim Breuer. There’s a ton of really, really, funny people. Only a few that can make me hurt. Tonight this little Southern fucker made me hurt. I was dying. The whole theatre was.

Theo’s act has grown so much since I last saw it. I love that. What he’s doing is so unique to Theo. It’s an act. Yeah. A heightened version of himself. He’s also more of a character than most top stand-ups these days. A hybrid of the authenticity mode we’re in now, and the days of Emo, Judy Tenuta, Bobcat, early Howie Mandel, Jim Varney, etc, etc. Throw in a little Andy Griffin or Burl Ives on LSD and you’re almost there to what he’s doing. Speaking of that, he told a story last night that was one of the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.  One of the funniest stories I’ve ever heard.  This was this gonzo story about him doing acid at sixteen and ending up at his grandparents house that he hadn’t seen in ten years, as high as you can humanly be, and asking them if he can get into bed with them to fall asleep like he used to the last time he saw them when, he was six. It’s truly masterful.

His storytelling is it’s own unique genre. Southern gothic stand-up gonzo. Stories like the one about him him hooking up on a dating app, in the middle of night, high again, with a lady with no legs. These stories aren’t told in a careless, callous way either. They come from a place of warmth. A guarded, beaten down, battle weary warmth. A tortured, traveling soul, looking to be a good man somehow. The audience never feels any different. There’s never an undercurrent of hate or malice. It’s confusion. A bumbling kind of positioning he’s found himself to have here on the planet that he’s sort of going to be okay with.

The haircut say it all. ‘I could grow it out. But I’d still feel like this guy, so what’s the point?’

He’s touring all over the place now. I think seeing him live is a whole different experience then the podcast or the specials. Do yourself a favor. Go here to his website and find out what’s close and go see him.

Or there’s a link to his tour dates and all his social media and podcasts here on the site!