common / Crossroads Weekend

Funny Berkeley Springs

We've got funny right here in town
Jazz Clark

Not often in Berkeley Springs does one get to stuff his face, enjoy a few drinks, and then take in the unique atmosphere of live comedy.

But July 27 at Angus and Ale, a crowd of at least 40 filed in and seemed to get a kick from the comedic stylings of two practitioners of the humor craft.

To DJ George Stanton’s credit, his music before the show was more diverse than usual — more classic rock and even urban styles, joined the country music.

I noticed a distinct lack of cursing in both acts. While the material was as crude as you could imagine (it’s probably worth mentioning you need to be 21 to attend this show) the headliner actually got down on himself for dropping the f-bomb near the end.

Still, the crowd was enthusiastic and welcomed the opening act positively.

Comedians Kenny Miller (left) and David Wingfield (right) pose in the aftermath of a successful comedy show under the spotlight.Comedians Kenny Miller (left) and David Wingfield (right) pose in the aftermath of a successful comedy show under the spotlight.

David Wingfield is not a small man. He knows it, the audience knows it, so he rolled with the punches. Fat jokes were to be expected.

For a man his size, however, his body language was expressive and flawlessly precise — and really funny. I found it personally fascinating how his meek off-stage self was so wildly opposed to his on-stage persona.

He also wore a pretty amazing hat. But I digress.

Beyond expectations, he’s married to an Indian woman he describes as “call center Indian, not cigar store Indian.” The two actually met when he opened a call center in India.

When their two families met in his hometown of Richmond, Va., he described it as “The Hatfields and the Muhammads.”

He doesn’t understand the traditional “till-death-do-you-part” trope of marriage. He prefers “till-better-do-you-find” or “till-bored-do-you-get.”

There were a number of married people in the audience, it seemed.

“I love being a comedian,” said Wingfield. “It’s the best job in the world. You can say anything you want.”

The headliner I personally think would agree, having worked with personalities like Drew Carey, Steve Harvey, Tim Allen and more. He has also performed in seven different countries.

Kenny Miller, from Cleveland, Ohio, is a man of hobbies. He enjoyed fishing on the ocean until he realized he was using six bucks in shrimp as bait to catch a 40-cent snapper.

In the middle of his act, fireworks from the nearby Morgan County Fair interrupted him, in what he thought was a traditional Berkeley Springs drive-by shooting.

When Miller made the dreadful mistake of asking whether Berkeley Spring needed a Wal-Mart, he effectively turned the show into a zoning meeting.

“”It’s always funny until it hits a little too close to home, isn’t it?,” Miller would say in a bout of trademarked cynicism.

But he recovered, moving swiftly into musical comedy with his trusty acoustic guitar at the request of roughly seven people,

Miller made a show of pretending to ask the audience for input, before going ahead with his planned material anyway. Crowd favorites were musically parodied, like Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash and Tim McGraw.

His “mad guitar skills” were put to the test with 17 attempts at Spanish classic “La Bamba.” He thinks the Macarena dance was created by someone looking for his wallet. 

While Miller seemed to get down on himself for not whipping the audience into a frenzy, he was a talented performer and the crowd was having a good time — and isn’t that kind of the point?

Special mention goes to the incredibly enthusiastic blonde woman in the front row, who answered every one of the comedian’s questions with gusto. Like most of the inebriated at a comedy show, she walked a fine line between endearing and cringingly irritating.

The age-old advice of everything in moderation should be followed in life, except when excess gives a comedian an excuse to cut you down. Then, it’s hilarious.

All in all, laughs were had and the audience participated wholeheartedly. The connection between comedy performer and comedian is a special one, and I live to see that back and forth.

Try as I might, I can’t find a single criticism of the evening or either act. And considering how impossibly apt I am at complaining, I call the night a win.

The next comedy night at the Angus and Ale will be on Friday, August 30.

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