I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.
Preston Barta // Critic
DALLAS— Friday night welcomed a handful of very talented comedians to the Gexa Energy Pavilion. Nearly 20,000 people braved the heat, atrocious traffic and deep-wallet priced food and beverages. But overall, Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy & Oddity Festival proved to be another successful year for the popular video site.
Jeff Ross helmed the show as MC for the evening, wasting no time between the acts and singling out (un)lucky members of the audience for a quick roast. “Thank you, sir, for fighting for our country,” said Ross to one of the devotees, “and thank you for being the reason why we have to fight for our country” to another. Not scared to offend or upset the audience, Ross stole the show.
One of the other takeaways was, of course, the star of the evening, Louis C.K. Talking about raising his kids and taking them to a summer house with a bat inside, Louis C.K. continues to cement himself as one of the funniest, most brutally honest comedians on the planet. He calls it as he sees it, and doesn’t care if the audience likes it or not.
Preceded by C.K. was Sarah Silverman, whose set provided laughs, only they were too few and far between. She ventured down a very traveled road of abortion, religion and feminism, offering nothing really fresh.
Marc Maron gave a decent enough set, including a very extended bit about his addiction to ice cream. But it was Hannibal Buress and the new comic Julian McCullough that outshined the closing acts.
Buress, returning from last year’s first show, revealed that he recently got LASIK eye surgery, and he threw in jokes about seeing certain details that he hadn’t noticed before. “For instance, I can see that you are a piece of sh*t,” said Buress as he pointed at one of the audience members.
Rounding off the bill of comedians was Whitney Cummings, who was often entertaining; however, she relied too heavily on sexual material. Her set was so gratuitous that she constantly repeated a joke about a woman squirting (Yeah, that was even tough to write).
Despite some of the comics who fell short, Oddball kept things moving and the audience entertained for the most. I can’t wait to see who returns and becomes a part of their third annual show next fall.
Oddball wrapped up their second-year tour last night in Austin, but all information about the tour can be found at oddballfest.com.