Multi-talented comedian to perform at Orlando Improv this weekend

There’s a projector in the Improv – somewhere. The projector sends images to a screen, that drops down from the ceiling before the show begins. A palpable energy fills that room. The talent before the headliner have run through their material and the crowd is in a jovial mood. It’s ready for the main act. It wants Tony Roberts.

Suddenly, music fills the room. This isn’t out of place for a comedy show, but it’s different here. For one, the music is simply an instrumental. Normally comics will enter the stage to a recognizable song, something that will let you know right away what sort of material will be on display. Secondly, a man has come running on the stage and begun to rap. The rapping is actually pretty decent. This is Tony Roberts.

Roberts is a scion to a different era. A time when HBO’s Def Comedy Jam was king and comics the world over decided to imitate the frenetic cool that was seminal to the show’s success. Roberts is filled with that chaotic, anything can happen energy.

The moment he stepped on stage images of Chris Tucker and Martin Lawrence popped into my head. That’s the vibe that Roberts gives off. That’s not to say that Roberts is derivative of those comics or anyone else except maybe Eddie Murphy, but everyone is derivative of Murphy.

Roberts’ has a unique take on the world and that take is what saves his material from the depths of comedy cliche where many a Gallagher joke rest; their watermelons only partly smashed.

It also helps that Roberts is energetic and boisterous. He is clearly having loads of fun and that enjoyment sends shock waves through the audience. The higher his level of giddiness, the more we laugh. It reminds one of a barometer, but I’m not sure whether we’re measuring Tony or he’s measuring us.

Laughter is the evening’s only constant; another echo of Murphy.

Tony Roberts will be at the Orlando Improv on Saturday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 29. He will perform each of these nights at the Improv. Saturday will host two shows, one at 7:30 p.m. and another at 10:15 p.m. Sunday will also feature a show at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20, and all guest must be 21 and up to enter the show.