I also loved the hacks. Mainly because they helped throw off the public perceptions of stand-up comedy. The average person’s view of stand-up comedy was degraded and dismissive. The stuff that was being broadcast on TV—endless brick-background cable shows and watered-down “urban” neon mini-auditoriums with a Lethal Weapon saxophone sting—was truly awful. People—especially dipshit pseudointellectuals who ate up one-man theater shows that were, essentially, reworked hack stand-up premises—avoided comedy clubs. Maybe they couldn’t stand the fact that comedy clubs simply announced what they were—booze-ups with jokes as lubricant.
The AV Club has an excerpt from Patton Oswalt’s new book, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, about his early days on the standup circuit: