By David Walters

Standup comics are the most vulnerable and raw people I know. They reveal more of themselves in the present than most any other artists. There is an admired bravery that is the draw for any audience who attends a comic’s shows, not only to get to laugh, but to feel (incredulous, irate, or in wonder) along with the headliner. They don’t apologize for their take on their worldview and often force your head around to maybe see it a bit their way despite your resistance. And yet behind that strong stance, there is a palpable vulnerability and seeking of attention that is also playing out on stage. The comic often exposes our own longing for love as we see a little bit of ourselves standing in that spotlight reaching beyond the stage to connect.

Presenting an acerbic wit, a biting sting, disregard for propriety on any touchy subject, and a twisted bent on observation, David Mills, an ex-ex-pat recently self-removed from the UK (due to disillusionment), is back in the US of A and at Pangea for a fifth run in a new show entitled, “glamour + despair.”

There was a devil-may-care attitude in the show I saw as he was not dressed in his usual dapper suit, but much more informal attire and this may have led him to the caustic presentation, sharp insight, and the dancing on despair that was the mark of the evening. There is a bitchiness and cynical take on making fun of things that shouldn’t be made fun of: gay pride, the audience, gun violence, personal trauma, gender identity, sex clubs and sexuality, loneliness, being in the closet, the movies, and friendship or lack thereof that made us all laugh together. Made us laugh together because we were all playing in the same sandbox as David shined his light on all those incongruencies in our lives. Jocoserious (I’ve been waiting to use that word), would be the best way to describe David’s brand of humor. Seeking understanding and radical justice, he brandishes a verbal skewer, not afraid to approach any subject, and then turn the instrument right back around on himself. Hilarious and cynical in a doleful, angrily-neurotic, clever, kind of way. His bit on they-them gender identity was spot on.

Accompanied by pianist Jody Shelton, David interspersed a number of eclectic songs between his observations that he loosely wove into the semblance of a sad and lonely story that directly reflects his commentary on himself and the world he currently finds himself in. Two of them that stuck out were The Snake by Al Wilson, and June Christy’s Something Cool; songs that you’d be hard-pressed to hear anywhere else as they are not a normal part of the American Songbook.

That is what Pangea is making a name for itself with currently, not presenting the usual cabaret-type show and being at the center of the alt-cabaret movement, having won a Village Award for their lineup. It’s a very comfortable intimate space where you don’t bump elbows or touch thighs with the person next to you. They present a full beverage service and a kitchen dishing up delicious Mediterranean food.


glamour + despair: the wit, wisdom, and song of David Mills now playing at Pangea, with musical accompaniment by Jody Shelton.

Pangea, 178 Second Avenue (between 11th & 12th Streets).

Fridays July 13, Sept 15, 22, Oct 6, 13 all @ 9:30. TICKETS HERE.

As always, this is just one person’s opinion in a world filled with them.