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Slightly Loose Sketch Revue

Comedy group Slightly Known People features its contemporaries more than itself in shows

Slightly Known People: Josh Mertz, Erik Bowie, Dan Maccarone, Melissa DeLancey and Stuart Luth.

Presenting a Halloween edition of their sketch comedy, the group Slightly Known People, appearing at downtown bar Rififi on October 20 as part of their regular Saturday night residency there, took a scattershot approach nominally framed by a campfire chat scene.

The opening segment of the campfire scene was longest and probably worked the best of anything they did in a show punctuated by a lot of guest performers, with group member Erik Bowie yearning for days of yore when people would hike to a campsite, and make the smores themselves around the fire, while fellow group member Dan Maccarone plaintively argues it’s so much easier to take an SUV and use Pop Tarts, and sing recent tunes rather than campfire songs.

Alternative stand-up Rob Gordon made a confidently boisterous entrance to the proceedings with his scary story -- revolving around his worst performing experience -- having to follow a newly post-sex-change-operation duo of magicians who could produce long streams of handkerchiefs from, well … take a guess…

Guest John Knefel of sketch group Bare Hand Wolf Chokers told a shaggy-dog story with a Steven Wright-type sensibility about a wandering burlesque performer, and the sketch group Buddy System presented a filmed piece and a live sketch, both previously seen in their own shows (see review).

Slightly Known People don’t really dominate their own show as a result of all their guests and their role doing wraparounds for them, but they closed the show with their own extended film piece, “The Were-Man,” that featured members of the group not present for the night’s live show, Josh Mertz and Stuart Luth, along with Melissa DeLancey, who was.

The group belabors the premise of “The Were-Man” a little too much, but the short film does have its moments. Mertz, the protagonist of the movie, after being bit by Luth’s “were-man” character, regularly transforms into a very sociable 1930s dandy, while when he is in his normal state, he’s rather cheap and unfriendly. The film gets good in its latter half when Mertz as a “were-man” hooks up with DeLancey’s character, who falls for his were-man persona, but then wakes up at her place the next day and is kicked out when she doesn’t like his normal self.

All in all, Slightly Known People certainly show that they have talent, but their momentum gets lost by chopping up their show to fit in all the guests, as good as the guests might be. They also indulge themselves a bit too much, especially evident in the extraneous notes in the “Were-man” film. It may sound strange, but a combination of giving themselves room to breathe and a continuous flow of performance, with judicious editing of their own material, could be what Slightly Known People needs.




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