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Surrealistic Schaal

Flight of the Conchords and Daily Show star gives an eclectic and brief performance at UCB.

Kristen Schaal brought her spacey persona into new realms of high concept spacey-ness -- and we mean that as a compliment -- in an abbreviated semi-solo performance.

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 the cage).

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. 



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