“This Too Shall Suck” is comedian Matt Graham’s unassumingly funny comeback to comedy. Part stand-up, part post-modern memoir, the sixty-minute “traumedy” is a life history about always coming in second place, or as Graham explains, the story of “one man’s transformation from total loser into not quite as much of a loser.”
Covering the span of Graham’s forty-five years, the show is an autobiography with a Messiah Complex as fluent in narcissism as it is in big ideas. Graham completed the new show in December 2011 after more than a decade hiatus from stand-up in which he tried out for a college basketball team at age 39, tried his hand at professional poker, and settled into relative seclusion in Queens with his cat Ruth.
Graham’s self-effacing style is deft and professional but is clearly no gimmick. As he moves into darker territory, delivering one of the most bizarre and hilarious accounts of alcoholism, drug abuse and attempted suicide, Graham’s pitch-perfect sincerity keeps the audience routing for him. His eventual moment of grace is inspired by 9/11, but explaining this to an audience, especially a NY one, can be a risky proposition. Luckily for Graham, the epiphany came on 9/12. He’d slept through everything after a long night of drinking.
September 11th does not end Graham’s humor—or sacrilege. However, the show makes a serious turn, taking stand-up in a surprisingly satisfying and unexpected direction. By the end Graham has covered a wide variety of topics—death, masturbation, kink, online dating, cats, grandma, Woody Allen, ping-pong, scrabble, dietary supplements and Canada—managing to transform “This Too Shall Suck” from one liner to full life.