Posted by Carten Cordell / Friday, July 8th, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
To be fair, I must tell you that I once performed in “The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)” and I stayed after the performance to get Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor and Matt Rippy’s autographs.
The Reduced Shakespeare Company, made up of standout comedians Martin, Tichenor and Rippy, is performing “The Complete World of Sports (abridged)” at the Kennedy Center through July 24. Performing isn’t quite the right term for what I saw, though. It’s more like inventing. They’re a fast-talking group that delivers on the spot punch lines, some tailored specifically to our area. For instance, they joked about former Congressman Weiner, the Washington Redskins, even the state of Virginia itself.
Some of the best moments happened at their so-called mess-ups. They improvise their way through a situation, always challenging each other to take it a step further, and watching them struggle, contend, and defeat themselves on stage is hilarious. It’s also the result of a group that knows each other so well they practically know what’s coming next.
Their show is family-friendly, but the Shrek kind, the one where it is appropriate for kids because the jokes that aren’t go right over their heads. To give you an example, but not to spoil the fun, Tichenor spotlights Tiger Woods in a Nike, Gatorade and McDonald’s sponsored ad. The Tiger Woods’s favorite punch lines, it’s called: “Just Do It,” “Is It in You?” and “I’m Lovin’ It.”
The RSC has more than just good jokes up their sleeve. The performance is also audience-participation, and involves some singing, both from them (which is excellent) and from us (which we all hope our spouses didn’t hear). But at least we weren’t lip syncing like the Chinese girl at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
As the Kennedy Center’s Jeremy Birch writes, “Sports fans will like this show. Sports haters will love this show.” As the trio says, “What’s the most exciting thing that can happen in baseball?” “A no-hitter.” “The most exciting thing that can happen is when nothing happens.” And that’s the sort of insight that allows them to humorously make fun of American, and world, sports culture.
For more information, visit www.kennedy-center.org.