I have worked out a few introductions for this review, but none of them worked, so I’ll just say it, I laughed so hard last night at the Kiss From Daddy/Birthday Boys show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre I felt physically sick afterwards. I woke up this morning, still a bit rheumy and asked myself, “Did I really laugh that hard?”
This split show, which takes place the first Wednesday of every month, has to be one of my favorites at the UCB, never mind the laughter pains. Like a good rock concert, the two groups really complemented each other—the sketches, silly, unpretentious, and risky, each lasting less than five minutes, had the ring of pop songs. Sometimes the premises worked, other times they didn’t, but the execution was such that both the funny and the not-so-much earned the same enthusiastic, breezy treatment.
Some favorites from the Kiss from Daddy segment included a sketch about a transcriber attacked by zombies—the man’s obsession with the right wording of his final words to the exclusion of all else is both maddening and hilarious. I thought Michael Blaiklock’s turn as a Thriller-obsessed teenager who scares away his date after a hilarious Michael Jackson “dance” brought on by the first few minor chords of the song a stand-out. The group seems especially obsessed with showcasing the compulsions of their characters; they press on in their mania in the face of anything, whether confusion, dislike, wind, rain, zombie attacks.
I think The Birthday Boys had me the moment they set up amps during the intermission break. Their first sketch involved a psychedelic British band from the sixties dealing with a split between blues and pop. Every time their lead guitarist quits the poppy band, the singer starts on the blues, the lead guitarist returns, they start playing the pop and you get the picture. Finally—well, I won’t spoil the ending, but anyone who followed the Yardbirds from inception to implosion knows already.
The Boys would go on to demonstrate their talent with music, film, sketch, and their shapely figures, but more on that later. Their very funny Terminator sketch (which is not online yet) killed. They imagine an alternate reality where life is actually unaffected by Skynet and I won’t give away the rest. Through their sketches, the Birthday Boys lived up to their name; they were innocent, optimistic, goofy, and left the audience the same way anyone under ten would feel if presented a cake—and that cake’s contents were comedy.
I will not reveal the contents of the final sketch, except to say that it involves a little less clothing than you would think permissible in certain municipalities. I would even go so far as to pun a little more on their name, but I won’t—you have to go see them next month to find out.
A Kiss From Daddy/The Birthday Boys perform the first Wednesday of each month at the UCB Theatre (5919 Franklin Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028)
A Kiss from Daddy–“Please”
Disclosure: The author takes improv classes at the UCB.