Show Review: Meltdown Blends Comics and ... Comics

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Donald Glover. Photo by Farley Elliott for LAist.


OK, follow me. Yup, right in through here, and straight to the counter. No, we’re not stopping to look at the Walking Dead comics. ID, cash, hand stamp, and on through the nondescript double doors in the back. Yeah, it’s dark, and the ceiling’s a little low, just trust me. It’s a lot less ‘Deer Hunter Russian roulette’ scene than you’re thinking. See? Listen to all that laughter. Look, and there’s Matt Braunger. He wouldn’t kill anybody.*

*The above is an unofficial transcript between you and a friend the next time you venture over to The Meltdown Show at (aptly enough) Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Here, in the back room of LA’s comic book nexus, comedians Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani preside over a once-monthly and now-weekly stand up comedy barrage that’s no less exciting and vibrant than the countless hand-drawn pages out front.

What began as a way for Jonah to book friends and throw a party where jokes happened to break out, Meltdown pretty quickly developed a following in the alternative comedy scene. Since then, Meltdown has played host to some great comedians and special one-off events (an ANAMANAGUCHI rock show, or perhaps Howard Kremer’s Have A Summah party), but the move to a weekly format offers perhaps the best news yet.

Last week, LAist was invited to join the kickoff party at Meltdown for the new weekly show, which featured Matt Dwyer, Marc Maron, Matt Braunger (LAist interview here), and a drop-in by Donald Glover (interview here). And, to the surprise of no one at all, the Meltdown killed. Maron effortlessly wound the audience through touchy tales of spurned love that (in the hands of lesser men) would have left the audience uncomfortable and giggle-shy, while Glover polished yet more new material on his short-lived Spiderman saga and just how scary getting a baby can be. The gold star of the evening, however, unquestioningly goes to Matt Braunger, whose delivery and natural charm seem to slay audiences wherever he goes.

Thanks to Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjiani, and the great line-ups being put together (November third’s show features Chris Hardwick, among others), The Meltdown Show looks intent on sticking around. And while no show is without its early issues (tech cues and a lack of chairs, for one), the quality of the show seems to outshine any minor issues. And the one saving grace, when the audience starts to clear out and the space just sort of feels like the back room of a comic book store again? This time, To Be Continued... only means one week.

The Meltdown Show
8:30pm Wednesdays
Meltdown Comics
7522 Sunset Blvd.