COMEDY | Fancy Ray McCloney and K Jay: Saying they’re funny pretty much amounts to calling water wet


Back in April, I called myself doing well to catch Fancy Ray McCloney and K Jay on the same bill at Scott Hansen’s Comedy Gallery in St. Paul. Lucked out, also enjoying host Nick Pine and opener CiCi Cooper. Four strong talents on one bill.

Nick Pine has an unassuming air and a wry style, pulling off an excellent deadpan as he delivers sharp material. CiCi Cooper is a stitch, droll as the day is long with stinging punch-lines. Her calling card shtick is priceless: Cooper has more than a few ways to gripe about not being able to get a man. She’s an ace at acerbic reflections on being single. If you’re a thin-skinned male, you might want to skip her solution for impotence. If you can laugh at yourself, it’s a hoot.

To say Fancy Ray McCloney is funny pretty much amounts to calling water wet. He personifies artfully honed, full-blown narcissism to a tee. He recently released Fancy Ray’s 20th Anniversary of Comedy (DVD), an engaging reminiscence of Fancy Ray’s career anchored by conversation with Star Tribune gossip maven C.J.

Fancy Ray’s 20th Anniversary of Comedy is true romp from the word go. You’ve got a montage of images and bits that put Fancy Ray across while acknowledging his forbears. Tribute is paid to, for instance, Little Richard; in a classic turn, Fancy Ray deftly conjures up Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Nobody can say the man doesn’t honor his cultural roots.

Does a damned good job of picking up from there, holding his own with reckless abandon and Swiss-clock timing for a tour de force of ribald, topical, and sexy shenanigans. There’s footage of live performances that positively rock. The whole thing is roughly an hour long, but goes by in what feels like ten minutes. That’s how entertaining Fancy Ray’s 20th Anniversary of Comedy is. All said, it’s a smart tribute to a solid veteran.

Fancy “The Best Lookin’ Man In Comedy” Ray McCloney and K Jay on the same stage is a review you can start writing before you leave the house. You know premier narcissist-cum-nitty-gritty sexologist Fancy Ray is going to kill. Setting this man loose on a crowd is like letting a shark loose at the Y. He was, to put it mildly, in fine form, loveably outrageous, a true mess in the very sense of the word. McCloney celebrates his 20th year in the business with a newly released DVD titled, sensibly enough, Fancy Ray’s 20th Anniversary of Comedy.

You also know K Jay is going to come with a wealth of laid-back, sardonic, homegrown wit. The thing I hate most about his sets is that sooner or later they come to an end. While he’s up there, though, it’s a comedic heyday. For instance, he’s got an absurd bit that makes all the sense in the world. With a perfectly straight face, K Jay pulls the government’s coat. “If you want to find Osama Bin Laden, they goin’ about it the wrong way. Need to send bill collectors after him. Need send the child-support collection agencies.” Hard to argue with that. He has a full repertoire of corkers, satirizing the everyday facts of life. K Jay sticks it to family get-togethers, nursery rhymes, and, in an airtight number, depicts a man trying to get his child to stop knocking on the bedroom door long enough for Daddy and Mommy to get down.

All in all, Fancy Ray McCloney, K Jay, Cici Cooper, and Nick Pine made for a winning night.

Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.

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