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Fried Shows Sweet Side

PIT variety talk show can be a mixed bag, but held together by its host.

By Cristina Merrill

Jester correspondent

The Matt Fried Hour, a new monthly solo showcase at the People’s Improv Theater, works best when its namesake star conducts talk show-type segments with guests rather than when giving them free rein to do scatological physical comedy, as they did in an April 29 performance.

Sketch duo Jerry Miller and Will Nunziata, known as “Dystopia Gardens,” had material that was mostly gratuitous, mining jokes on masturbation, boiling dogs, masturbation while boiling dogs, and so forth.

Opening the show as host, Fried vamped with prolonged goofy sputtering noises and physical gestures for a few minutes, then delivering a punchline, “And that guys, is how I met Tony Danza.”

He was, however, in his element the most when talking to his second guest, Jonathan Silverstein,who was once the host’s professor, and is currently directing directing “The Temperamentals,” an off-Broadway play about gay identity in 1950s Los Angeles. Fried offered to be the heterosexual mascot of a blog he suggested they start together in support of Silverstein’s work.    

The best guest was saved for last. Marshall York, of another sketch duo, the Monumentalists, explained that his partner, Lucas Kavner, got caught up playing the game of Clue with his family. York, wearing jeans, a brown leather jacket and sporting an Edward Cullen-like hairdo, grows more and more upset as his interview continues, sans partner. He feels abandoned by his friend, and expresses his anger by singing “Please Show Up.”

“I’m not going to wait for you anymore,” he sings, strumming on his black guitar.  “I don’t even know why I tuned your guitar.”

Eventually, Kaver does appear and the two make up, concluding their interview by singing their duet “It’s Never Too Late,” a song about second chances. Fried manages to hold his own throughout each guest appearance, and is interesting enough to make the audience stay after the Monumentalists have taken their leave. In a good display of physical and verbal comedy, he reclines on his sofa and thanks the audience -- a group of less than 10 -- for coming to the show.  It is moments like these when he is at his funniest, when he is being himself.

The Matt Fried Hour returns at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 27 at The PIT.



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