Saturday, April 28, 2012

Famously Sick, Man

Martha Stewart and skulls: much funnier than you'd have guessed.

I only know that because I was front row center at Gallery 5 for Richmond Comedy Coalition's "Richmond Famous," a night where a well-known Richmonder puts himself at the mercy of our best local improv troupe.

Tonight's sacrificial lamb was artist and activist Noah Scalin, he of the "Skull-a-Day" project.

The way I figured it, anyone who devoted a year of his life to skulls was bound to have some good stories to share.

And all it takes is one or two good ones for RCC to skewer them in ways both related and unrelated.

His story of going on the Martha Stewart show (never correct Martha if she mispronounces your name, he was told) to demonstrate his peanut butter and jelly skulls yielded hilarious takes on the queen of all things domestic.

When she wasn't knitting a sweater for the goat she planned to sacrifice that evening, she was stealing the souls from live children.

Noah told a story about being a balloon pilot in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and how tough it was to maneuver huge balloons with drunk people holding the attached strings.

That resulted in a sketch about applicants auditioning for a kids' birthday party.

Each was supposed to do an imitation and, one by one, they lined up and showed what they could do.

Matthew McConaughey, Seth Rogan, Jack Nicholson. They all got the part.

Next up, it's a dark-haired, bearded comedian's turn and he's asked who he imitates.

"Noah Scalin," he says casually. He got the part.

Another sketch about dating had the guy being asked why on earth he was going out with a girl named Sarah (with an "h" so people took her seriously).

The Lothario justified it in a heartbeat. "Hey, Sara's got a name."

Because, for some people, all it takes is a name.

The guest of honor told the story of being mistaken for one of the Beastie Boys, saying, "I've been bleaching my hair white since before Eminem."

Another story of Noah visiting a museum in Philly that offered him slices of diseased human brains in acrylic with which to make skulls led to a sketch about the Mutton Museum and its overly-zealous caretaker.

There was a dim-witted gay couple planning their wedding who concluded that instead of strewing flower petals, they'd scatter bike pedals.

"Sick, man!" the one said to his beloved. Pause. Meaningful look.

"I'm so glad we waited," one groom says to the other apropos of nothing and entirely sincerely.

We were rolling on the floor laughing at this incongruous pair.

The entire night was laugh out loud funny. Someone would kick the floor in frustration and a screaming cat sound was heard from someone else.

A sketch about a doomed pilot named Snoopy and his co-pilot Garfield caused another comedian to start singing "Danger Zone" a la "Top Gun."

By the end of the evening, Noah's life had been properly exposed and shredded.

Mission accomplished.

We couldn't stand to laugh anymore, so we switched gears to music and Balliceaux's evening of Brazilica, a quarterly evening of deep Latin and Afro sounds done by WRIR's Mikemetic Kemetic.

To my great delight, there was also a drummer/percussionist on stage who worked every song and added an extra intensity to what we were hearing.

Which was dance music, full-on dance music.

I love the sound of hands on skins.

It was an evening of serious grooves and the crowd responded by first moving in place, then dancing and eventually full-on grinding.

At one point a friend who works at Balliceaux walked up to me and  leaned over as if sharing a deep, dark secret.

"I love this music!" he grinned.

What's not to love? If global dance floor inspirations aren't your thing, you may want to check your pulse.

Especially on a Friday.

Mine had been racing madly since all the raunchy humor at G5 and now with those kinds of beats going, I was in no danger (zone) of flat lining.

Humor and music, practically my lifeblood.

Practically.

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