Even the most casual fan of stand-up comedy would agree that one of the main ingredients of a successful act is likability. Regardless of the comic’s tone, creativity, edginess or lack thereof, there’s got to be something that you like about that guy or woman onstage.
So in the case of John Roy’s latest, Dressed for Recess, a slice-of-life set about a boyish man reluctant to come of age, does the nationally headlining club comic win points for his “C’mon, like me” factor? Sure does.
Like many comics, Roy’s an Everyman. Or not even an Everyman. He’s the guy who’s trying desperately to attain “Everyman,” status, the guy who falls just short of being semi-cool; he’s the guy who still dresses like he’s in his teens, has a much younger – and better-educated – girlfriend – dines on ramen noodles and drinks PBR, not because it’s trendy but because he’s kinda broke, which is also why he still dresses like a kid.
In other words, after listening to the 50-plus minutes of comedy on Dressed, you’d be pressed hard to find something unappealing about Roy, unless you’re some sort of prick. If anything, Roy is a solid representation of the average contemporary male in his late 20s to early 30s — not the sort of guy you’re bound to have strong emotional opinions about. That is to say, one could safely assume that given the opportunity to have a series of chats with the man himself, the resulting conversations would be rarely compelling but always comfortable, which is how his stand-up plays out.
Although Roy plays with a deep range of topics to get to his punch lines -– the Chicago native hits on race, religion, semantics, drinking, drugs, patriotism, pop culture, and more -– he usually does so in a way that simply validates what the average person already thinks about those subjects: Applebees’ slogan, “Eating good in the neighborhood” is a bullshit slogan because, as Roy explains, “it should be like, ‘Eating mediocre where the 94 off-ramp meets the back of a Best Buy.’” Mothers are too protective of their little ones these days and it is really cold in Chicago.
In the end, Roy proves he’s a skilled and competent -– if not, wholly unique -– comedian, the kind of clutch comic with a seamless delivery the industry needs. Without that foundation, there would be little hope for Roy to grow into a great comic.
Listen to a track from John Roy’s Dressed for Recess: