|Burstein and his troupe take the audience on a wild ride during the course of the show
After Saturday Night Live and Mad
TV managed to dry up the preverbal ocean known as sketch comedy a few years back, the laughter-loving populous has been forced
to scrounge on the re-runs of those shows from the late 80’s and early 90’s in order to get a sufficient amount
of sketch comedy sustenance, just waiting for an outrageous new cast of characters to come along that would carve their own
niche in the unforgiving genre of sketch comedy.
They have arrived.
Despite a miniscule budget, in a
small venue, ZehlSteen ThinkPound’s newest production, “Uncommon Courtesy,” defies the odds and provides
more laughs in an hour than anything seen on SNL over the past five years. Playing at “The Tank,” located at 279 Church Street
in Manhattan, “Uncommon Courtesy” is a laugh riot that combines intellectual
humor with a wildness and exuberance that will remind many of the heydays of the Kids in the Hall and SNL. Not only are the
actors themselves hilarious in “Uncommon Courtesy”, but the sketches are intelligent, witty, political and hilarious
all at the same time.
For instance, what would happen if
Chris “Mad Dog Russo” felt that he wasted his life covering sports, or if the “Wiggles” based their
beliefs on those of the Nazi Regime? Or even better, what if the world was destroyed and then run by hippies?
Anyone watching would laugh and laugh
hard, that’s what.
|Nick Carr and Sean Von Gorman [pictured left and center] are hilarious
At the same time, while stretching
their ingenious abilities at intelligent humor, the troupe, led by Brooklyn-native Josh Burstein, isn’t afraid of resorting
to the classics, as the charismatic Matt Carr opens the show doing a spot on impersonation of Dane Cook, while running around
rampant in his underwear. As well, the versatile and equally entertaining Michael Rehse has no problems hypnotizing the crowd
using the power of the fart and slinging fake feces around the stage either. Such a combination of comedic elements not only
gives the show the brevity it needs to succeed, it provides enough laughs for anyone watching.
Aside from the stellar performances of
Carr and Rehse, who steal the show, Ashley Marinaccio’s facial expressions in various skits and Sean Von Gorman’s
“Russian accent” in the parody of “Entourage” are worth the price of admission alone. Aside from his
charisma on the stage, Von Gorman’s artistic talent is also showcased during the show, as one of his cartoons, “Action
Team Hero Squad” will remind many of the Ambiguously Gay Duo, which used to appear on SNL and proves to be a
solid transition in between skits. Overall, anyone looking for a laugh can’t do much better than Uncommon Courtesy.
|Ashley Marinaccio's facial expressions alone make for great comedy
When the curtain falls at the end of the
show, one thing is apparent; Uncommon Courtesy is a treasure to behold in the world known as New York sketch comedy,
filled with a group of actors that know what real comedy is all about, making people laugh.
For decades, New
York City has been known as a place where hard working people make a name for themselves, before eventually
rocketing to superstardom. In the end, that’s exactly what the cast of this show winds up doing, as the seed for eventually
comedic superstardom is without a doubt planted.
All Photographs for this article were taken by Sherrie Ocasio