Elliot Maxx's comedy career has come full circle. Back in the '80s, he found himself stuck in the same rut as a lot of comedians of that era. "Comedy had become this corporation," he says. "Everyone had this Seinfeld-ish act; pretty bland. And I was doing the same thing, and it wasn't who I was." A musician before going into standup, he picked up his guitar. "I became a guitar comedian," he says. "Every time I walked into a club the other comedians would go, 'Oh, no!' because those guys are the worst act, right?" Maxx, however, would win over the audience as well as his peers. "Then the other comics would say, 'I didn't know you could not be hacky with a guitar." Since that time a few more guitar comedians have come along, including Haywood Banks, Tom Wilson, Nick Thune, and Henry Phillips. "They're all very original with their guitars," says Maxx. Still, even with the new direction he felt frustrated, mostly due to the lack of time he had to create. "I had two kids starting college and I was running from gig to gig." He showed up at Acme one week in the early '90s, and was asked about his new material. Maxx felt bad that he didn't have any. Feeling as though he might be letting them down, he walked away after that week. "I figured I'd just go be a horrible cruise-ship comedian." And that's what he did. It cramped his comedy style, of course. "They want you to make jokes about the buffet," he says, "and you have to dumb it down a lot." Most of the new songs and jokes he wrote, he couldn't use. That is, until now. Maxx will be making his triumphant return to Acme this week after a nearly 20-year hiatus. As an added bonus his son, New York-based comedian Joe Larson, will co-headline. 18+.
June 26-30, 8 p.m.; June 29-30, 10:30 p.m., 2012