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Witching Hour

Rob Asaro gets a break with UCB showcase solo show

By Cristina Merrill / Jester correspondent

The hour from 6 to 7 p.m. is the wee early morning in the world of comedy. But for aspiring comedians like Rob Asaro, it is an opportunity to experiment and hone craft in front of a willing audience. On Thursday, Aug. 12, Asaro performed his one-man show “Clyde Bananaglass is Dead” at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He was preceded by “The Healthy Heart Foundation Comedy Show” and “Clue: The Improved Edition,” a gem. Asaro showed great versatility, playing characters that ranged from a reformed Osama bin Laden to a self-absorbed casting agent to Jesus. Such flexibility and creativity can only mean good things for an aspiring performer, especially a comedic one. It would be nice to see Asaro work with a partner, given the range of characters and scenes, but overall, he does a decent job of holding the show together all by himself and making sure it flows.

First on Asaro’s roster of characters is Gene Avocado, a self-promoting, name-dropping Hollywood agent who credits the success of several actors, such as Tom Hanks, to his own show business savvy. Wearing a fake mustache, Asaro explains that, as a rule, he never tells directors when actors are interested in a role.  “They don’t like to be bothered,” he says, of directors. “It’s very unprofessional.” He insists that one must do “little things” in order to gain fame, such as lying on a resume, doing drugs and, for women, getting larger breasts. 

Asaro is best as Osama bin Laden. Wearing a white robe, white turban and fake beard, Asaro portrayed bin Laden as a reformed terrorist who is frustrated that people cannot simply forget his past. He insists that the stress of it all has made him lose his hair, so much that he had to buy a small fake beard from Party City. The problem, he says, is that he himself is in 2010 and everyone else is in 2001. He insists on being referred to as “O.B.L.,” and says that judgment from those who will not forgive him makes him “yellow level angry.” After telling the audience a couple of knock-knock jokes, he promises to do nothing “terroristy.”

Later, Asaro goes in a different direction and plays Jesus. Wearing a white robe, a fake beard and wig of long hair, and a small crown of thorns, he talks about his own acting and screenwriting aspirations, his love of Claudia Schiffer (“I’d like to schiff her, know what I mean?”) and mentions a role he has coming up. “I play a short, brown-haired man with a slight New York accent,” he says, later telling the audience to hit him up on Twitter.

Asaro’s material is interesting, creative and funny. He is good at playing a variety of characters, but his ability to carry an entire show is evidently still in the works. It would definitely be interesting to see “Clyde Bananaglass is Dead” develop into a full-cast sketch show as the material would be well-served by having another actor in some of the counterpart roles in the pieces. Regardless, Asaro is a developing talent and does a decent job of carrying the entire show.

 

   

     

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