“Do this experiment for me: be 16 in your head for a minute. Now, go to a concert. You’re with your friends, you’re getting loaded, rockin’ out, having a good time. Look around: Who’s that? Uh-oh. Creepy old guy. Creepy. Old. Rockin’ solo! Didn’t even bring a friend! Now I’m that guy!”
What’s more embarrassing than realizing you’ve become that creepy old guy at the club? Having to admit that being cool still matters, even decades after high school.
But that doesn’t stop Greg Behrendt from doing exactly that in this hour-long stand-up special, appropriately titled “Greg Behrendt is Uncool.” Shot at the San Jose Improv, the DVD finds Behrendt standing in front of a giant illuminated sign reading “UNCOOL” while illustrating in example after example exactly how past-his-expiration-date the once-hip, 42-year-old, married father of two actually is.
“I moved to LA to become a rock star,” the Northern California native explains in his act, “Now I’m a contributor for Cosmo Girl!”
Dressed in a black T-shirt, jeans, a studded belt and a chain wallet—both of which, he explains, were almost confiscated by airport security (“Because of the war? And the terrorism and the upgrades to security?” “Nope,” the guard explains, “Because you’re 38.”)—Behrendt opens his set with the obligatory mention of the book that’s made him so marketable in the first place: the bestselling “He’s Just Not That into You,” the dating advice manual that grew out of a “Sex and the City” episode and consequently ruined the game of millions of commitment-phobic dudes nationwide.
If you happen to be one of the few that could correctly spell Behrendt’s name before Oprah discovered “HJNTIY,” you might recognize some of the material stacked at the front of his set, like the “adult rock show” bit, in which Behrendt conceives a few rules for grownup-friendly gigs:
“The adult rock show starts at 7. Band plays one hour. No opening band. No encore: just play the songs we came to hear, do a couple of surprises, do the song from the soundtrack, boom, valet parking, home by 9, Lost is on.”
(Yeah, heard that same joke when I saw Greg’s act two years ago; he just updated the punch line with a more recent TV show. Good thing it’s still funny.)
Newer material (to me, anyway) follows, including hilarious rants on what passes as social life when you’re married, like couples-only board-game nights (“Pictionary shouldn’t be called Pictionary; it should be called ‘Well, here’s what I would’ve drawn.”) and his stint as a consultant on “Sex and the City” (“I was the most easily flustered. The women were so candid! They’d say things like, ‘When I m********e, I like to use a vibrator,’ ‘Really? I use my fingers,’ ‘Well let’s go to lunch!’ Go to lunch?! I can’t even get up from the table!”)
There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, which is quite a feat considering stand-up is way funnier when you’re in a club with hundreds of other people belly-laughing than sitting in your living room alone.
Without spoiling the closer, by the end Behrendt’s found a way to unite his two career loves (rock and stand-up), embracing his lack of cool while convincing the audience to love him despite his lameness.
And we do love him, because deep down we’ve all still got that unfortunate, immature desire to be cool. No matter how enormous your paycheck gets, how expensive the haircut or how trendy the jeans, everyone still sometimes feels just as devastatingly geeky and uncool as they did in the seventh grade. Greg Behrendt’s just the only one ballsy enough to own up to it.