comedian presents her own idiosyncratic world in solo showcase
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,
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
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
“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
MiCucci closes the eight-night long run in Montreal at 7 p.m.
tonight, July 25.
For Laughs -- Montreal Comedy Festival coverage sponsored by
Eric & LaNita Hazard; Irving & Sonya Rozansky.