Amateur comedians should steer clear of subjects like the bombing at the Boston Marathon, at least for a while. But Tom Papa is no amateur. His years on the road have not only made him one of Jerry Seinfeld's close buddies (he hosted Seinfeld's "The Marriage Ref"), but they've also helped him master the art of addressing sensitive without alienating the audience.
At his Thursday show, the first of three nights at Acme Comedy Co., Papa opened with a bit about how a 19-year-old, like the alleged perpetrator of the bombing that has survived, could feel alienated and dissatisfied.
"You're 19!" he said. "Get a skateboard!"
Papa told me after the 75-minute performance that he was worried about that material, which he's still polishing. He needn't fret. The bit kicked off a solid night, which included some expanded interaction with the audience that stretched the show 15 minutes longer than Papa had planned on.
If you're going to the show Friday and Saturday, make sure to get there in time to see opener Chuck Bartell, a former Minnesotan who now works in Hollywood. Bartell comes from the Steven Wright school of observational one-liners, hitting much more than missing.