Tripping on the Way To
comedy duo's run at Gotham City Improv needs some adjustments
Amy Daulton and Alex Decaneas.
comedy duo Fantastic Genius, Amy Daulton and Alex Decaneas, are
appealing enough performers, but judging by the first performance of
their run at Gotham City Improv on May 3, they ought to ask themselves a
few more questions in their writing about what the next beats in
sketches should be or how an ending of a sketch should come from
everything that’s been built up so far.
In one skit, Decaneas dons a blonde wig to play “Melissa Bernstein,” a
TV financial advisor. The skit quickly takes a non-sequitur turn as
Daulton enters in a mullet wig, playing Bernstein’s oilman dad, waving
fingers pointed like guns to “shoot down” good stocks. This really
descends into just mugging -- none of the attempt to be surprising or
funny comes from anything to do with a real relationship between the two
Another sketch suffers from similar conceptual problems. Daulton and
Decaneas play two employees competing for a promotion, and Daulton is
wearing a Hitler mustache, which isn’t even addressed until too far into
the sketch, after Decaneas boasts repeatedly about his power tie and
gadgets, and why they make him a better candidate. The joke here of the
Hitler mustache being the preferable trait is an inventive idea, but the
tone of its presentation was just off, and too delayed.
Fantastic Genius also uses some video material, which is also a bit
problematic, partly because of low production values -- which is hard to
blame them for, but certainly they ought to see this and correct it or
reshoot it before presenting it. One video, “Vampire Dog,” sort of in
the style of “Toonces the Driving Cat” from SNL in the late 1980s,
suffers because the timing of the dog’s bite is a bit off -- animal
actors are certainly a challenge, but maybe it could have been fixed
with editing. Another video piece, a parody of e-Harmony, seems to have
Daulton playing a bearded lady although it’s really hard to tell from
the make-up job or the way the video was shot.
One sketch that combines live performance and video footage comes
closest to actually working out of everything in the show, and that’s
the duo playing heavy metal rockers Lita Ford and, well, the lead singer
from Cinderella (for the record, his name is Tom Keifer, and the duo has
a bit of fun with that), as superheroes, dispatched to save a woman in
peril (seen in video clips), although again, it’s hard to tell if the
joke is that they don’t do much good or are actively harming the victim.
Although the performance was the very first in their run, it was still
sparsely attended, and maybe the duo would have benefited from a more
energetic audience, but Fantastic Genius would still be well-served to
reshoot and rewrite a lot of their material as they continue through
their run (Thursdays at 8:30, May 17, June 14 and 28).