When Ryan Singer came on stage, a woman seated near me commented that he looked like “that painter guy from PBS.” His flannel shirt was tucked in because, as Singer pointed out, that’s what you do when you get close to 40 years old. Atop his head sat the hair equivalent of Arby’s curly fries, which like his beard, had a “touch of grey” to it, which is more than appropriate for a Grateful Dead fan like Singer.
Singer, an Ohio boy originally from Dayton, performed at Hilarities on Wednesday night and will do so again on Sunday night. I first became aware of him when he was the feature act for a Marc Maron performance at Hilarities in 2014. I dug his style and his material, so I made sure to check him out on Wednesday night, and he did not disappoint.
A lengthy rundown of his top five fast food milkshakes was a highlight of the night and it epitomized his set. The bit not only served as an insightful list of where to get tasty frozen treats you can suck through a straw, but also took the crowd on a tangential, comedic journey through heartache, hope, and the experiences of a latchkey kid.
His delivery kind of reminds me of a higher energy Mitch Hedberg, but he is more of a storyteller and philosopher than a joke teller. His material was polished–some of it was material I was familiar with from seeing him perform in 2014 and from a couple of his albums I downloaded after that show–but his performance still seemed experimental, which I appreciated.
Though I enjoyed the show a lot, I will admit that Ryan Singer is kind of a weird guy. He hosts a mindcast–not a podcast–called Me and Paranormal You, which features experiences–not episodes–and explores paranormal individuals and experiences. Honestly, he lost me when he was talking about the crystals he usually carries in his pockets and the jewelry he bought off Etsy to ward off evil spirits, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying his brand of funny. If you’re looking for something broad, watch The Big Bang Theory. If you’re looking for something unique, Singer is a better match.