When a stand-up is coming up, they work toward getting a "tight five," referring to five minutes of killer material that's ready for a late-night set. Joe Pera is not a "tight five" sort of comedian. Gentle and peculiar, Pera performs at a pace much slower than you'll normally see on TV. (So slow and calm, he made a usable sleep-aid video for Adult Swim.) But what's so great about his performance last night is that Pera didn't alter his style for television, he made the audience adjust to him.
I've seen Pera perform a bunch of times in New York, so I knew what to expect. What's so impressive here is that Pera is able to convey his persona so succinctly to the audience that by the time he says – talking as a person talking to him – "a cool guy like you," the audience laughs louder than they had before. My favorite detail is his hands: He spends almost the entire set nervously almost putting them in his pocket — it's a clever way to create pre-punch-line tension.
And that a cappella joke! Late-night audiences tend to not be the best for comedians they aren't familiar with. If you watch any comedian's late-night set, regardless of the show, you'll hear some medium laughs and a lot of (likely cued) applause breaks. Toward the end, Pera gets both the loud pop laughs and the sort between-joke rolling laughter you'd see at a real comedy show. And the laughs are truly deserved.
RELATED: See photos of Seth Myers through the years:
Seth Meyers through the years
Comedian performs gentle, weird stand-up on late night; kills
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Seth Myers attends Cool Comedy - Hot Cuisine for
Scleroderma Research Foundation hosted by Bob Saget at Carolines On Broadway on November 7, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage for Scleroderma Research Foundation)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: Comedian Seth Myers (L) and actor Jon Hamm attend the New Yorker White House Correspondents' dinner pre-party at The W Hotel, rooftop on April 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for The New Yorker)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1548 -- Airdate 03/07/2009 -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Timberlake, Seth Myers (Photo by Dana Edelson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 07: Actor Seth Myers attends Fashion's Night Out: The Show at Lincoln Center on September 7, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MARCH 17: Actor Seth Myers visits the Late Show with David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theatre on March 17, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)
Actor Seth Myers attends Fashion's Night Out: The Show at Lincoln Center on September 7, 2010 in New York City.
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 09: Comedian Seth Myers arrives for the 12th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Comedy at the Kennedy Center on November 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. Tina Fey, creator of the television show 30 Rock, is the recipient of this year's prize. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Alexi Ashe and Seth Myers attend the Cinema Society & People StyleWatch with Grey Goose screening of 'Friends With Kids' at the SVA Theater on March 5, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Alexi Ashe and writer/comedian Seth Myers attend the 2012 Writers Guild East Coast Awards at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on February 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Alexi Ashe and Seth Myers attend the 'Schiaparelli And Prada: Impossible Conversations' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Actor Seth Myers (L) and guest arrive at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 03: (L-R) Arianna Huffington, actor/comedian Seth Myers and TV personality Padma Lakshmi attend the 2013 Cycle For Survival Benefit at Equinox Rock Center on March 3, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Alexi Ashe and honoree Seth Myers attend the 2014 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: Alexi Ashe (L) and TV personality Seth Myers attend the 2014 Tiffany's Blue Book Gala at the Guggenheim Museum on April 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 0063 -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Mike Myers and talent manager Shep Gordon during an interview with host Seth Meyers on June 18, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Designer Stella McCartney (L) and actor Seth Myers attend The 11th Annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards at Spring Studios
on November 3, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 04: TV host Seth Myers attends Bloomberg Businessweek's 85th Anniversary Celebration at The American Museum of Natural History on December 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Comedian Seth Myers performs on stage during the New York Comedy Festival and the Bob Woodruff Foundation's 9th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Seth Myers attends TIME 100 Gala, TIME's 100 Most Influential People In The World at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 21, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 01: Seth Myers hangs out before the start of the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on November 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)