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Best Buddies

Jon Pack and Jason Kalter of PIT foursome Buddy System set out on their own as Rue Brutalia

Pictured: Jason Kalter and Jon Pack

The male half of sketch comedy foursome Buddy System (see previous review) are now presenting their own show at The People’s Improv Theater, under the name Rue Brutalia. Jon Pack and Jason Kalter paint from a palette that includes The State (whose member Kevin Allison is The PIT’s artistic director and has mentored them) and the Billy Crystal-Christopher Guest year of SNL, as well the Dana Carvey-Phil Hartman years.

The best sketch of their one hour show is the one that bears the most State influence, in which they play college roommates and Pack lets slip to Kalter that everyone on campus thinks he has Down’s syndrome -- and then encourages him to milk that for all the sympathy he can get. Kalter plays his resulting outrage just right. This bit has the flavor of State member Michael Showalter’s rebel character Doug from their show, but with even more depth to it.

Another highlight is Pack and Kalter’s overzealous John Cougar Mellencamp fans -- zealous to the point of ridiculousness. They follow the time honored formula of doubling a character with another one who’s similar, like Hans and Franz or the Sweeney Sisters (Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks) did time and time again. Kalter and Pack glory in the presence of their idol at one of his concerts to the point where Kalter even says, “I would become a woman for you!”

Pack and Kalter each get a solo piece, with Pack’s being more out there as “Horace Retch,” a hostile angry guy who absurdly claims in his mean voice that he loves animals as he flips through pictures of cute little kittens and the like. Kalter does his own version of an old-time Catskills-style character recalling the most perfect chair he ever sat in.

Rue Brutalia does have a couple loose ends in its show, like a send-up of motivational speakers’ books that goes back and forth a little too long, and some video pieces that are a little too perfunctory -- although one of their “Romans” video bits does add a nice comic button to a mundane occurrence. But with just a few small trims, their show will really kill.

Rue Brutalia return to The PIT on Friday, July 27 at 9:30 p.m. Their videos are available online at




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