Last night I went out with some friends to The Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea. It has been several years since I went to any kind of stand up (I think the last time must have been at the Un-Cabaret back in 2006 or something). This was also the second time in a week that I was in a cabaret type environment, where the entry is “free”, but there is a two drink minimum. And especially for stand up, I am sure drinking enhances the audience appreciation/participation potential. Many of the acts were quite short, and most of them not terribly funny. I did notice a few themes that I thought were interesting though. Several of the comedians did bits about being gay (one of them actually was gay) or being perceived as gay, playing a little bit on the old stereotypes, but mostly in a non abusive way. It struck me how far we have come when this staple of comedy has gotten such a makeover. Humor about gay people used to be almost universally disparaging, but like the culture around it has changed dramatically, with most of the jokes poking fun at the uncertainty and silliness of rigid gender norms. What originally lured us to the standup was the fact that Bryan Callen was going to be there (of MadTV Pool Boy fame among others), but I have to admit that his short bit fell totally flat for me. On the other hand, Aziz Ansari was hysterical, and his takedown of a rather rude, entitled, phone-texter in the audience was hilarious and satisfying.