After performing for 1,100 people on Broadway, the star of new musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" did what you might not have expected: Ben Walker headed downtown to perform stand-up for a couple of dozen spectators in the back room of a bar in Alphabet City.
Walker (photographed by Mindy Tucker at left) took the stage at Luca Lounge during Thursday night's "Lasers in the Jungle" show hosted by Sean Crespo, and after commenting on what Crespo had just said onstage, he began his 13-minute set by saying: "Yeah, I'm Ben. Hi guys. This is nice! I was just uptown in a beautiful Broadway theater, 1,100 people. I've got to say this is much nicer. (laughs) A, because you guys are awake, and B, because those are some amazing boots you're wearing. Yeah. I don't have a joke about it. It's an issue that I have."
Walker then got into his prepared material, earning laughs fairly consistently as he joked about the messages corporate America tells us through advertising, and didn't hold back on the meme regarding Sarah Jessica Parker, showing an ad for her perfume which carries the tagline, "Lovely on the inside." "I'm not saying she's not sexy, she's sexy, just in a very equestrian sort of way," he quipped.
"I'm an actor. It's a bullshit job. It's absolute bullshit. I can't believe we get paid for it. And I mean, I have health insurance this week. I'm sure I'll go back to bourbon-and-Tylenol soon. I love making fun of actors. Because the acting, once you start to do it, you start to feel like, 'Oh, you know people are looking at me, this is, my opinion matters.' There's nothing like looking at an actor's early career to put everything in perspective. Or just look at their body of work and see what you see."
Which he then demonstrated with clips of Jen Aniston and Tom Cruise before turning the joke onto himself with a clip from his first major acting role.
"That, ladies and gentlemen, is my first job! That's me in Kinsey, in the first 30 seconds of the movie I masturbate and cry. My parents are so proud of me. I have finally made it."
Walker told me afterward that he has been doing stand-up "off and on" for about four to five years. Which is backed up by his own YouTube account, which includes a 2006 video of Ben Walker doing stand-up at Carolines.
The "off and on" comedy also goes back to a show he has co-hosted off and on at Jimmy's No. 43 called "Find the Funny." Fun facts that brings it all together: In a New Yorker Talk of the Town piece on Walker, Lizzie Widdicombe went to a "Find the Funny" show that featured a performance by Crespo. And in this January 2007 video Walker and his cohort Rudy Valdez produced to advertise one such "Find the Funny" show, they offered a lineup that included Reggie Watts, Baron Vaughn and Livia Scott. Both Vaughn and Scott were in the audience last Thursday at Lasers in the Jungle.