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Comedy Review

Comedians find humor on the nerdy side of life

Patton Oswalt's strange KFC obsession is part of his act. Patton Oswalt's strange KFC obsession is part of his act. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The Comedians of Comedy performers all like to put themselves under a microscope, and what they see isn't pretty.

Thursday night at the Roxy, Brian Posehn referred to himself as a "hairless Yeti," Maria Bamford called herself "an anxious nerd," and Patton Oswalt described his body as a "pig carcass filled with wet breakfast cereal." Former Somerville resident Eugene Mirman, subbing for regular Zach Galifianakis, filled out a questionnaire for classmates.com, that site with flashing ads all over the Internet, and wrote about his worst date - with a woman giving birth at the Ground Round in Fresh Pond - though I'm pretty sure he made at least part of that up.

Basically, they're geeks who like video games and science fiction and got teased in high school, and they think the people who like them are misfits, too. And they kind of are.

The Comedians of Comedy tour, which started as a documentary that became a six-episode series on Comedy Central, plays rock clubs, not comedy clubs, and attracts an indie crowd more in tune with the performers' imaginative, bizarre, often cynical humor. Some people may not get Oswalt's notorious description of the KFC Famous Bowl - a dish of mashed potatoes, corn, chicken, gravy, and cheese that he calls a "failure pile in a sadness bowl" - but everyone I know finds it absolutely hilarious.

Oswalt added to his strange KFC obsession Thursday night with a long story about a "megaleg" that's in test markets. Then there was Mirman's dreamlike bit about Detroit being so run down that bears are moving into the city and opening Thai restaurants.

As famous as some of these comedians are becoming - Oswalt was the voice of Remy in the Disney movie "Ratatouille," Posehn is a regular on "The Sarah Silverman Program" on Comedy Central, Mirman has been on HBO's "Flight of the Conchords" - they're still ridiculously self-deprecating. And partly with good reason: The guys have pot bellies, Mirman looks like he just woke up from a nap, Oswalt talks about the time he tried to hit on a girl and belched.

Bamford is thin and pretty, but two steps away from crazy. Most of her act was a two-way conversation, and she did fantastic impressions of ordinary people, including her mom, who is annoyed that Bamford keeps leaving her messages in a creepy baby Jesus voice. Her world-history timeline went as follows: bugs, Jesus, top hats, diet sodas.

Above all, the comedians were having fun interacting with one another and the crowd - Oswalt even pulled an aspiring young comic from Quincy onstage to tell a few jokes. You could see the performers watching each act from the side of the stage, and when Posehn made a crack about Oswalt being an elf, Oswalt did a silly dance on the stairs.

They seem to enjoy their indie cred. In fact, Oswalt seemed startled when the crowd started reciting one of his jokes along with him. At the very end of the show, he told us he wanted a catchphrase like Larry the Cable Guy's "Git 'r done," so he tried one out: "Put the puppy in the bucket!"

He better be careful - it might catch on.

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The Comedians of Comedy

At: the Roxy, Thursday night

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