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Cult-film fans might recognize Guy Torry as the wrongly convicted inmate who convinces Edward Norton’s Neo-Nazi character in American History X to give racial harmony a chance. But he’s better known as the self-proclaimed “professional smartass” who developed a knockout stand-up routine on Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam. That means Torry’s routine is big on volume and peppered with the irreverent racial commentary that defines the Def Jam brand. But unlike his contemporaries Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, Torry does more than draw lines in the sand in order to explain the differences between black and white cultures. More often his skits take on a less-touristy African-American perspective from which he explores language and consumerism. It also means his jokes seldom begin or end with the phrase, “this is how black people do it.” That’s not to say Torry eschews racial provocation—he just doesn’t see the need to dumb it down.
GUY TORRY PERFORMS AT 8:30 P.M. AT THE DC IMPROV, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. $15. (202) 296-7008.