Last time the hilariously high-strung Paul Hooper came to town, he had recently relocated to New York City and was struggling to find a way to relax amid the din of metropolitan life. Now he thinks he might have found it. "I like to drive, so I just want to rent a car and drive across the country with a duck and listen to NPR," he says in an inscrutable deadpan. It's odd, but it's also sincere, as Hooper is sincerely odd. The North Carolina native has a courteous Southern disposition shot through with neuroses and restless energy—partly a product, he suspects, of growing up as an only child with OCD. The effect onstage is an amiable rapid-fire patter that zigzags between personal introspection and social critique, precisely articulated and laced with absurdism. The act is instantly beguiling and absolutely distinctive, which has earned Hooper appearances at the HBO Comedy Festival and the Boston Comedy Festival, as well as second place in the prestigious Seattle International Comedy Competition.
March 8-10, 8 p.m.; March 9-10, 10:30 p.m., 2012