If you missed the TV debut last weekend of John Heffron's new stand-up comedy special, Middle Class Funny, then you'll have to wait for the DVD to come out on Aug. 4 (you can pre-order John Heffron: Middle Class Funny through Amazon.com). Curiously, though, Heffron's special, as it aired on Comedy Central, turned out to be even more of a tease than the comedian expected. You see, normally, a stand-up might go back to some classic or "greatest hits" at the end of a special's taping as an encore, or as a treat to fans and put it on the DVD as an extra. But almost half of the 40-plus minutes that Comedy Central aired from Heffron's special were those "greatest hits," with jokes about getting haircuts from your mom with the "dingleberry" scissors, and how men and women interact in nightclubs — bits you'd likely already seen and heard when Heffron won Last Comic Standing years ago or from one of his previous records/specials (on Comedy Central!).
Comedians who can produce their own specials have, over the past year or two, done so and then sold them to a cable network (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime), tying the air date to the promotion of a DVD release soon thereafter. Heffron learned a show-business lesson here, since as he pointed out to fans on Twitter (pictured) and Facebook, Comedy Central had the final edit and could cut up his hour any way they wished. Maybe they liked the old jokes better? Maybe they had short-term memory loss? Maybe some other reason? Some of the "new" hour already exists in their Jokes.com database from John Heffron performances in 2007 and 2004! Anyhow. Moving on.
But what about the special itself? The more timely portions find Heffron drawing upon his recent experiences as a married man, and will gladly share with the guys in the audience the rules of marriage, as he is learning them. In earlier incarnations as a stand-up, Heffron also was a good buddy to the fellas, giving them tips and early warnings about what to expect in dating and aging into one's 30s, and before then, informing them about the companies he was going to start to help them through life. Now here Heffron is, noting how his anniversary means it's time for his "performance review," and how his wife reminds him at many opportunities of how he's not cutting it. If TV executives are looking for the next generation of stand-up guys who could turn their domestic situations into a familiar sitcom setting, then Heffron is speaking to your needs. He also gladly shares the two "little reasons" that could prompt him to file for divorce (in both instances, he'd be driving at the time), and offers up an anecdote of one time in which his crowd work revealed a little too much about a couple in the front row.
You can watch a few clips from John Heffron's Middle Class Funny over at The Laugh Track. But I'm including this clip below because of how freaky it is in terms of timing — Heffron himself sets up this bit about wives and husbands arguing by saying the violence happens every so often, but c'mon! His two examples are a woman killing her man in his sleep (how Steve McNair's mistress did him in!) and couples who become singles after killing a spouse on a cruise ship (except in last week's case, it was the husband of a California couple who is the accused). Freaky! Roll the clip: