As audience members filed into the Heart of Darkness variety show at the Bell House last night, they were handed a vegan gummy bear stuffed in a cocaine baggy, and told that one of the sugary snacks was laced with acid.
For one lucky guest, it looked like the show, hosted by East Village resident and former L’asso owner Greg Barris, might actually live up to its billing as the “world’s most important event,” but the stunt was actually just part of a lecture on the Placebo Effect by Matthew Johnson Ph. D from Johns Hopkins. The most informative part of Johnson’s lecture, however, wasn’t when he described the placebo effect, but instead came during the Q & A when he insisted that mushrooms are better for the body than booze, DMT is better than mushrooms, and that mushrooms won’t show up on a drug test.
Gaffigan was added earlier in the day after a cancellation from ?uestlove, who, due to a lack of commitment, had only been listed on the bill as “Special Guest,” making the switch-out easy. Considering that not many people knew there was a possibility of the Roots drummer showing up, the main letdown of him dropping out was that we didn’t get to ask if he confirms appearances by saying, “You got me.”
Gaffigan, following a hauntingly beautiful performance by the Bushwick-based singer Aerial East, opened his set by joking that East had stolen his song and that she lied to him backstage when she said she was planning on doing “Gangnam Style.” The rest of his set included jokes about New York car services, doughnuts, parenting, and it even involved the heckling of an audience member who got up to go to the bathroom. He then closed the set by teasing East once more.
Reggie Watts, who has played at several Heart of Darkness shows, was also a “Special Guest”; other performers included taiko drummer Kaoru Watanabe, She Keeps Bees, New Beard, comedian Brooke Van Poppelen, and Jeremy Morris Burke doing projections. Pretty much everyone killed it. The venue was packed and everyone seemed to be having fun.
“It was a very nice time for everybody. We will all remember it forever,” Barris jokingly told B+B, adding, “I had four slices of pizza.”