Flight of the Conchords and Daily Show star gives
an eclectic and brief performance at UCB.
Schaal brought her spacey persona into new realms of high concept
spacey-ness -- and we mean that as a compliment -- in an abbreviated
Carried on stage by her longtime comedy partner, Kurt Braunohler, Schaal
infused her performance at the UCB Theatre August 27 with heavy doses of
surrealism, especially her opening story of her parents having somehow
met while her father, supposedly a heavily tattooed soldier, was
captured in the Persian Gulf War, and her mom was supposedly passing
through the wartime prison.
Braunohler appeared in supporting roles as himself through the 24-minute
show, only donning a character for the finale, which we’ll get to. To
begin with, he brings out a birdcage for Schaal, who immediately takes
the bit in another surreal and unexpected direction, when, pulling the
cover off the cage, it turns out the bird left a note that it flew
south, but phones in to talk to Schaal (the phone being on the bottom of
A similarly high concept bit in Schaal’s show features a seemingly
real-life argument with a boyfriend seated in the audience, interspersed
between her loopy performance of a nonsensical portrayal of Anne Boleyn
in a big red cape and headdress.
Keeping with the surrealism, Schaal had alluded to a sex dream featuring
George Washington -- and guess who -- Braunohler returns for the finale
dressed as the founding father. The duo go into a “Dirty Dancing” parody
and then freeze as though they were animatronic figures in Disney’s Hall
of Presidents, in repose.
With this, the house lights go up, which we almost thought to be another
joke -- that Schaal would soon go into another sketch, but this was her
show’s equally surrealistic ending. It left the audience a little
unfulfilled, even as it showed Schaal’s total command of sketch comedy
and her comedic persona, at whatever length of time she chooses to
parcel it out.
Schaal and Braunohler perform together at Comix in New York on
September 5 and 6.