It's hardly a given for an emerging humorist to stand out when performing on the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival tour. Much of the crowd is there to catch Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer, who are the biggest comics in the world not named Kevin Hart.
Fans of the late, lamented Comedy Central gem "Insomniac" can't get enough of Dave Attell, and those with a high comedy quotient love the roastmaster Jeffrey Ross.
But Bridget Everett will stand out when she performs on the tour that stops in Hartford on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Xfinity Theatre. That has nothing to do with Everett's stature. The Manhattan, Kan., native, who has been part of THE Manhattan comedy scene for the past decade, is 6 feet tall and performs braless, but that's not why she's a show stealer.
The cabaret singer/comic is an electric entertainer because there is a palpable sense of danger and unpredictability when Everett steps under the lights.
"I absolutely crave that," Everett said while calling from her Manhattan apartment. "I don't care what anyone thinks. I just do what I want to do and go for it. I remember starting out in karaoke bars ripping my shirt off and ripping the shirts off of those in the audience during shows. It was always about letting it rip."
Everett, 43, is this generation's Sam Kinison. If she goes down in flames, her reaction, is "well, whatever." The Chardonnay loving diva, who enjoys kicking off her shoes before she hits the stage and sitting on fan's faces during performances, could care less about anything except executing onstage.
"That's what it's about and I have to say there is something about Sam Kinison," Everett said. "I was recently watching old clips of his and he was beyond amazing. Sometimes he bombed but when he hit it, it was just out of the park. The thing I love most about Kinison is that he didn't give a bleep."
Everett's initial comic influence was her mother. "She would come home and rip off her bra and just get comfortable," Everett said. "It all started for me with her."
The energetic entertainer didn't come to New York to crack wise professionally. She was attracted by the Great White Way. "But I discovered that I really didn't want to be part of Broadway," Everett said. "I didn't want to wear a tour jacket and work on shows like those performers do."
Everett met some like-minded downtown New York actor-comics. "They were lawless and fun and it was just this happy accident that I found [comedy]," Everett said. "I was like, 'Can I do this for a living?' Amazing."
Don't call Everett a comic. She considers herself a cabaret artist. What she does is tell dirty, amusing tales and slips in some well-delivered vocals. It works. It's surprising, organic and unique, which are adjectives that rarely describe contemporary comics.
When Everett isn't performing comedy, she's out with her band, the Tender Moments, which features former Beastie Boy Adam (Ad-Rock) Horovitz.
"We have fun together," Everett said. "We were at a festival recently and someone asked what I do and Adam said, 'She's a cabaret singer,' and I was like, 'Shut up.' I am a cabaret singer but there is nothing as uncool as being a cabaret singer. Nobody goes into the record store and says 'Where's the cabaret section?'"
Everett is tight with Schumer. "We're good friends," Everett said. "Amy is the best and she is so funny. But the thing about us is that we both love Chardonnay and we balance each other out. I let it all hang out on stage. I could go right to bed after a show but not Amy. She's like, 'Hey, let's go hang out and watch 'The Bachelorette.' Amy helps keep me young."
Don't expect Everett to ever pander in the hope of landing a sitcom vehicle. "If I ever do a sitcom it has to be right for me," Everett said. "It would be great if it were the perfect situation for me. But if not, I would rather not work 16 hours a day, five days a week. I like what I do. I'm about performing on a stage, being on the edge of falling off the cliff. I love singing, making people laugh and being in touch with the audience, in more ways than one."
AZIZ ANSARI will headline the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Xfinity Theatre, 61 Savitt Way, Hartford. Amy Schumer is the special guest. Bridget Everett, Anthony Jeselnik, Nick Thune, Dave Attell, Jay Pharoah, Michael Che, Nick Kroll, Rachel Feinstein, Jim Norton, John Mulaney, Nikki Glaser, Ashley Barnhill, Jeffrey Ross, Katherine Ryan, Sebastian Maniscalo, T.J. Miller and Tony Hinchcliffe will also perform. Tickets are $29.75, $32, $52, $132 and $157. Showtime is 5 p.m. Information: 860-548-7370, oddballfest.com.