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The Sketch Show [Montreal 2009]
Pregnant Women are Smug by Garfunkel and Oates
Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci
|More Sketch Show [Montreal 2009] videos|
|Pregnant Women are Smug by Garfunkel and Oates|
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Presenting the best sketch comedy from around the world! In the tradition of Monty Python, SNL and Kids in the Hall, you’ll see tightly-knit, slightly twisted scenarios presented by some of the hottest, craziest casts of characters around. Featuring The Birthday Boys (USA), Idiots Of Ants (UK), The Imponderables (Canada) and Two White Guys (USA). Garfunkel & Oates (Kate Micucci & Riki Lindhome)
The Sketch Show, Montreal 2009
The Anglophone half of Just For Laughs has long been dominated by stand-up, but this show – part of the fringe Zoofest and presented by the acclaimed Upright Citizens’ Brigade – is some small effort to redress the balance in favour of sketch.
It’s hosted by Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome in the guise of Garfunkel & Oates. In this act, the sugary niceness that defined Micucci’s solo show is only a frosting to sweeten the pill for much more prickly, and funnier, material. Their folksy songs occupy the same provocative arena as the best stand-up – taking to task such subjects as bigoted Right-wingers and smug pregnant women – with barbs that are only sharpened by being delivered with such faux niceness. Two engaging performers with smart material and cheerily sway-along songs: what more could you ask of a musical comedy act?
Canadian four-man sketch group The Imponderables are slick, lively, silly and charismatic – yet don’t quite have that all-important mark of distinction. You could imagine their well-honed sketches being performed by any number of similar troupes around the world and not identify them as being quintessentially ‘Imponderables’.
Maybe that’s picky, because they are undeniably funny, and the skits rolled out tonight included an elaborate fraternity handshake with mightily impressive choreography, a creepy fairground ride called The Violator which has received the ultimate internet accolade of being remade in Lego, and an impressively professional trailer for a spin-off movie from the Where’s Waldo? books.
In an unfortunate synchronicity, Waldo also featured in the opening set from much-fancied Brit quartet Idiots Of Ants; but there was no escaping it – he was needed for a callback gag later on, even if the boys did fumble their line by referring to him by his British name, Wally. As in the gala, their intimately touchy-feely office sketch produced a slight discomfort among the audience, with the tension released through laughter; while their entertaining serenade wasn’t too badly hit by choosing the most impassive of volunteers.
Two White Guys are a black man and a white woman aka MadTV’s Jordan Peele and Second City alumnus Rebecca Drysdale. They performed as sex educators, trying too hard and too unsuccessfully to be hip while imparting their worthy message. It’s pretty much a one-gag sketch, but they drew it out skillfully with enough flourishes to give it staying power.
The Birthday Boys are nothing if not ambitious; starting by telling us there were 3D specs under our seats for the enjoyment of the first scene. No one believed them, but indeed there were – an essential prop for an energetically anarchic burst of madness. A hockey-game sketch that followed seemed more pedestrian, but they have an undeniable sense of fun.
Sketch comedy is on the rise, given that it so perfectly fits the way we increasingly watch comedy on the internet (see the samples in the Video tab above), so how long before this showcase becomes a more integral part of Just For Laughs, rather than relegated to the fringes?
|Date of live review: Saturday 25th Jul, '09|
Review by Steve Bennett
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