cultural capital

Comedy Nerds, Meet Indie-Rock Nerds

Clem Snide’s Eef Barzelay strives to be the sexiest geek.Photo: Getty Images

There’s a lot of sexy geeks here tonight,” said Clem Snide front man Eef Barzelay from the stage. The crowd at Irving Plaza last night for The Daily Show’s “Ten Fucking Years” anniversary concert cheered in agreement. From the program guide that is sure to be on eBay within 24 hours (introduction by Thomas Pynchon — for serious!) to the bouncing thrum of Superchunk, the event was a social mixer few would dare to host. (Consider: Sarah Vowell was one of night’s biggest star sightings.) Proceeds went to the cool kids’ favorite charity, Dave Eggers’s 826NYC.

Judging by the way the sold-out crowd thinned as the night went on (and on), we suspect the comedy fans outnumbered the music people by about three to one. In between musical acts by Upper Crust (think Colonial-era Kiss), Brooklyn’s Clem Snide, the acoustic darlings the Mountain Goats, and the rarely seen Superchunk, the Daily Show crowd sated their fans. Devotees cheered correspondents Samantha Bee and Jason Jones and even screamed for Rob Riggle, who just joined the show in September. John Hodgman and John Oliver were the night’s most successful crossover hits. A tipsy Ed Helms unexpectedly led a lovely bluegrass trio. Sadly, Jon Stewart spoke to the crowd only via a prerecorded message.

Superchunk went on around midnight, playing to about a quarter of the original audience. Front man Mac McCaughan said bands either play “pandering sets or teaching sets,” and the seventeen-year-old group willingly conceded to the crowd and played only one new song. The finale was — predictably, joyously — “Slack Motherfucker.” And at ten past one in the morning, the tired fans shrugged off the shards of their former rocking selves and readied themselves for working for you.

Aileen Gallagher

Comedy Nerds, Meet Indie-Rock Nerds