A Proper Comedic Tease
Manhattan Comedy Collective puts influences to
good use in sketch compilation show
almost criminal that the Manhattan Comedy Collective isn’t getting
bigger audiences. The 17-member ensemble, versed in both improv and
sketch comedy, is currently running The Proper Tease of Love, a
compilation of original sketches that fulfills the promise some of the
group have shown in Saturday Night Rewritten shows at Juvie Hall, their
writing and acting of the group is strong, with the performers, nine of
whom appear in this show, showing versatility by playing a range of
characters. The writing is mostly well-focused, even deploying clever
transitions between sketches in the first half of the one-hour show.
Christina Casa and Stacy Mayer (a director of other shows by the group)
update Gilda Radner’s Lisa Loopner character as a duo to great effect,
using the freedom of performing for a select audience to go further
about sex than even 1970s Saturday Night Live could. The duo have formed
their own private club called SSASS -- smart, socially awkward and
sex-starved -- and you can guess where they may take it from there.
Dewey Banks as the officiating priest and Mayer as the widow, a host of
surprises are revealed in the sketch “The Funeral,” all original and all
off-kilter enough to make them funny. Banks is this group’s Phil Hartman
-- a utility player who can fit a lot of different seemingly normal
Performer Phil Wedo pulls off both spoof characters like a pimp in a
takeoff on MTV’s Room Raiders show, and everymen like those he summons
up in an improv set the group does preceding the sketch show.
is written to segue right into another sketch, “Yours Now and Forever,”
featuring Andrea Alton and Robin Gelfenbein, by focusing on a similar
object or element, like Monty Python used to do. And this sketch, by
comparing and contrasting two women from American Colonial and modern
eras both pining away for lovers disappeared, skillfully build the humor
by escalating their plights over time.
you like the influences evident in the Manhattan Comedy Collective’s
work, do them a favor and help them build their audience. Your time will
be well spent.