Pacific Northwest duo takes chances with physical comedy reminiscent of
As part of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater’s “Best Comedy in the
Universe” festival these two weeks, an unusual duo from Washington State
called “The Cody Rivers Show” appeared November 13, presenting sketches
that mixed physical comedy both in silent form and verbalized to varying
degrees of success.
The opening piece by the duo, Mike Mathieu and Andrew Connor, as a pair
of Vikings dancing a highly choreographed routine catches on out of
their sheer energy. Of course this is set to music, but really qualifies
as silent comedy because the duo doesn’t speak at all here.
Another piece, which would be spoiled by revealing too many details,
begins with the expectation of some sort of verbal banter, but then goes
in a direction that is much more physical comedy, also scored because of
its novel use of certain basic old physical comedy chestnuts.
In another case, speech actually gets this duo into trouble -- dressed
in florescent outfits, one bearing a “?” and another a “!”, they rapidly
spout a jibberish language, and that’s the entire content of the sketch.
Here the sheer energy of the duo isn’t enough to put the comedic conceit
over the top.
Strangely enough, the duo’s best piece -- and the one that got the most
reaction from this New York audience -- is its most verbal, beginning
with a premise very much like something John Hodgman would think of.
They start talking about the 10 types of people in the world -- all of
which are very unlikely categories indeed -- and escalate into past
history, when there were way more than 10 and how that got whittled
Although the Cody Rivers Show is adventurous and takes a lot of chances
with inventive material, it would be nice to see them make some of their
pieces a little more accessible for any audience, perhaps by putting
themselves in the audiences’ shoes and retooling pieces like the “?” and
“!” characters. Even their more accessible sketches do take a few extra
moments to get into.