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Ms. MiCucci’s Neighborhood

Musical comedian presents her own idiosyncratic world in solo showcase

Certain influences are readily apparent in Kate MiCucci’s show “Playing With MiCucci,” seen July 24 in the Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival. Take a heavy helping of Maria Bamford, a light sprinkling of Steve Martin’s 1970s comedic banjo songs and Kimya Dawson’s songs for “Juno,” give more than a nod to Mister Rogers, and garnish liberally with Pee Wee Herman’s “Playhouse,” and you might get something like what MiCucci’s put together. This is said with admiration, not criticism, though.

MiCucci has taken these ingredients and put them through her own sieve to fashion a show that invites audiences to her own unique comic sensibility. More than just the quirky songs she performs on acoustic guitar, MiCucci and her collaborators have a lot of fun with a three dimensional set design that definitely adds other qualities to her solo showcase, at the under-100-seat Theatre St. Catherine.

A lot of the show is sweet innocence, such as MiCucci’s actual tribute song for Mr. Rogers, sung with projected clips of him on the curtain behind her, which is decorated with a simplistic painted rendering of her apartment and some of her favorite things, a la Mr. Rogers’ TV home set.

But there are even hints of danger and sex in MiCucci’s world, as she sings a song of an albino boy who rescues the girl he has a crush on from being abducted in a white van. Or better yet, Dave the stalker (played by Davey Johnson) who peeks through the window in the curtain and later hooks up with a puppet who’s part of MiCucci’s neighborhood, to explosive effect. The tongue-in-cheek menace of this character in the middle of the proceedings is reminiscent of the interactions in “Pee Wee’s Playhouse.”

“Playing With MiCucci” also included a couple songs performed with Riki Lindhome, as the duo which is MiCucci’s other endeavor, “Garfunkel and Oates,” including a medley of their least favorite 1990s pop songs, and a response to Pat Robertson’s opposition of gay marriage, “Sex With Ducks,” on the slippery slope that supposedly would result.

The ingredients MiCucci chooses for her solo showcase blend together quite well over a nearly one-hour show, and at several points throughout, really do pay off. Definitely worth seeing, either in her home base of Los Angeles or if she ends up touring or visiting other cities.

MiCucci closes the eight-night long run in Montreal at 7 p.m. tonight, July 25.

Just For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by

Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky. 



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