I Have Seen The Other Side ...

Categories: Theater

... and it is funny there.

They've individually performed in lots of venues as actors, stand-up comics and practitioners of the improvisational arts. Now, they've formed like Voltron into a collective entity bent on ruling the sketch comedy universe. Or maybe they just want to make you laugh. They're called The Other Side Project, and they debuted at the Bryant Lake Bowl last night.

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Pass the Scooby Snacks, Fake Doctor Bob: Pilgrim Elvis is in the Mood to Party. Click here for more photos.

The ensemble, composed of eight actors and one video person, ran through an hour-long series of sketches with wild characters, meta-humor that punches right through the fourth wall, and even one nostalgic nod to a classic Looney Tunes bit.

To begin, we're introduced to a series of outlandish characters -- Fake Doctor Bob, Tom, The Guy With Claws For Hands and the inspired Pilgrim Elvis -- but the focus shifts from colorful figures to self-referential humor and back several times throughout the evening. Since I'm a language guy, it should come as no surprise that I think the show is at its best when at its wordiest. Benjamin Denson's long, well-crafted diatribes during a routine about a blind theater attendee are gems, as are several moments of a mock apology sketch.

That's not to say shorter, scatological dialog was absent. Let's face it, bodily functions are funny, and any joke where the punch line is a simple "... and fuck you" is all right by me -- especially when the line works in context. The show delivered on that score as well. One of the characters we're introduced to is "Menstrual Maggie," and yes, it is what you think.

The Other Side's video backdrop adds a lot, whether material is incorporated seamlessly into the show or used to present standalone routines during set changes. One or two of the night's most sneakily humorous moments were sight gags on the backdrop, and another highlight of the evening is a purely pre-recorded hunk of hilarity that lampoons reality programming in a fresh way (no, really).

As is the risk with any inaugural performance, there were some timing kinks to work out. At times, punchy lines got lost in the shuffle. But the show has energy, enthusiasm and a Thursday night slot to bring mirth back to uptown.

NEXT UP
The Other Side Project performs at the Bryant Lake Bowl again on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10.

ELSEWHERE ON THE WEB

The Other Side Project on MySpace
The Bryant Lake Bowl


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