Paul Hooper

Paul Hooper is a strange bird, but he's fine with you knowing that. "I think I'm getting weirder as I get older," he halfway frets. "I really wonder where it's going to lead. I don't have a bestselling book where people are going to let me get away with this." The North Carolina-born comic, who recently relocated to New York City, uses that anxiety to drive his deeply original act, which is never morose or kvetchy, but is rather an ebullient celebration of eccentricity. Hooper's infectiously charming mania is channeled into a joke-dense, rapid-fire patter softened with an easygoing Southern drawl, a highly articulate and hyper-verbose torrent of quips and observations that suggests he's having a good-natured argument with someone nobody else can see. Perhaps, he suggests, he needs a soothing hobby. "This is probably not gonna help my weird-guy image, but I think I would like to see ducks. I want to go to a park, see some green grass, and feed some ducks once a week. But that's a crazy-man activity. If I tell everybody I'm going upstate to feed ducks or I'm gonna snap, nobody wants to be around that." On second thought, Hooper reconsiders, maybe he's not getting weirder: "I think I'm just embracing it."
June 30-July 2, 8 p.m.; July 1-2, 10:30 p.m., 2011
 
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