Single (and funny) in Sacramento
Jen Kirkman had a shitty day.
Her flight to Sacramento was delayed, and she was freaking out about getting into town at the peak of rush hour and arriving late to her own gig at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub.
Yet, no one else at the airport seemed bothered by the delay. They were all chatting, making new friends.
“There seemed to be this happiness about going to Sacramento,” Kirkman told the nearly sold-out crowd last Tuesday. “And I was like, ‘Do they know something I don't?'”
Kirkman described landing at the Sacramento airport as a terrifying experience. “It looks like you’re crashing on a farm,” she said, proceeding to refer to Sacramento as a “shit town” over and over. And over.
We get it, Jen. We have an inferiority complex. Stop reminding us!
Kirkman has been a stand-up comedian for 18 years, known as a writer for Chelsea Lately and a frequent narrator on the Funny or Die sketch series Drunk History. Her 2013 book I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids became a New York Times bestseller. In May, her name reached new ubiquity with her critically-acclaimed Netflix special I'm Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine).
One of my super #SacramentoProud friends absolutely hated Kirkman's Harlow's set. He said she winged it unsuccessfully. I think he was just butthurt over the “shit town” and “fucked-up shit river” comments. Luckily, Kirkman saved herself by making fun of a nearby city that sometimes causes those aforementioned shoulder chips.
“Oh, this is so much better than fucking San Francisco,” she said after realizing that, yes, Sacramento loves to laugh. “What happened to them in the last years? Was it Google?”
Kirkman took a while to “really start” her lengthy, 90-minute set. Instead, she started picking on some abnormally well-dressed men near the front: David and Shawn. Or Sean. I didn't ask.
David said he's a bureaucrat. (“I don't know what a bureaucrat is.”) Shawn said he's a geology engineer. (“A geology engineer? Can't even do crowd work because the crowd is too fucking smart.”) Fortunately, David and Shawn are both divorced, which gave David and Shawn and Kirkman something to bond over. Anyone who has seen I'm Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) knows that Kirkman is recently divorced. And fine with it, by the way.
Several of the set's most hilarious jokes stemmed from the Netflix special: the discovery of gray pubic hairs, a future with human-cat weddings and the benefits of dating someone whose family is entirely dead, for example. Plus, quite possibly my favorite line: “When a single woman dies alone, a cat appears.”
Her new material touched on many of the same ideas: why weddings suck, why divorce isn't so bad, why not having kids is better than having kids. But now she's got more hilarious single-life stories—told in her neurotic, rambling style—such as getting asked out on a date by a homeless man while volunteering at a shelter. She resolved that single women just can't help people without unwanted advances. “Jesus could be Jesus because he had a penis,” she said.
Kirkman's crowdwork, remarkably, never relented—she never forgot about poor David and Shawn. Sure enough, they were the first to flee the club and will probably never choose to sit so close to a stand-up comedian ever again.