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He's An Asshole

Rick Murphy shows off comedic characters, but even better, plays himself in sketch comedy compilation show

Manhattan Comedy Collective player Rick Murphy gets the chance to show off several of his characters in “Rick Murphy is an Asshole,” a sketch show that is part of the collective’s Thursday night Big Bang shows this month at the Gene Frankel Underground.

The best parts of this show aren’t his characters, but rather the little speeches Murphy delivers pretty much just as himself, like one in which his honoring of Mother’s Day turns into a chauvinistic TV offer to make women mothers with “The Rick Murphy Insemination Device.”

Murphy’s characters have a marked Saturday Night Live influence -- but more Adam Sandler era than Will Ferrell’s days -- and he’s done some of them before in the Saturday Night Rewritten shows at the same theater.

The music chosen for Murphy’s show by sound designer Christopher Colucci -- all songs with some mention of assholes or being an asshole -- are good for tying all the pieces together and help the show cohere. Murphy’s show includes two short films, one that’s truly original in which Murphy vocalizes a hamster’s thoughts while it runs around its cage. Another video of Murphy playing a struggling actor too convinced that his Pacino impression is the key to winning every role could have just easily been done live as a sketch, however.

Just as Murphy excels in brief solo comedic speeches not tied to characters, the best sketches in Murphy’s show are ones that aren’t just the character showcases but are truly ensemble pieces, like a Dr. Phil show parody where Murphy plays a philandering husband with a way too understanding wife.

These small distinctions aside, “Rick Murphy is an Asshole,” is a highly entertaining show and shows off a performer who probably has a lot more great work in him. Also, the current host of the whole Big Bang evening this month, Shawn Hollenbach, shows a lot of skills with invented characters male and female, local and foreign. Eventually, he may get a full hour like Murphy.



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