Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Comedy review: Four Funny Females at McKinney Performing Arts Center
Men, beware: This show might get uncomfortable for you. (But isn't that what comedy's all about?)
MCKINNEY Four Funny Females, a group that performs regularly at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, has a tough name to live up to. Of the comedy quartet, two of the females were Comedy Central funny – a major feat for a small local comedy troupe. Each female appealed to a different audience, which was largely middle-aged women (plus my very uncomfortable mid-twenties boyfriend).
After an introduction by Laura Bartlett, the show’s producer and one of the comedians, the self-proclaimed techno-geek, Jodi Hadsell, started her routine with references to online dating, Facebook, and her “new age redneck” father, an Oprah-watching racist and homophobe. When she tells him she’s dating a black man, he hopes she’ll “turn gay.” Overall, her performance was funny, if not a little forced. Case in point: When her iPod fell in the toilet, she exclaimed, “Oh, crap!”
Next, an obviously-pregnant Belle graced the stage with her seemingly “Southern Belle” charm. “A congratulation is in order for me,” she said and then paused. “I just got married.” The icebreaker relaxed the audience, and we then saw the spicy firecracker hiding behind her innocent persona. Her style was definitely a crowd-pleaser, considering Belle's jokes consisted of riffs about drunks, breast-feeding a 9-year-old (yes, it's gross), smoking pot, and Catholics. Growing up with her pot-smoking father, she knew that the “medicine cabinet” was in a tray underneath the couch, and when she knocked over the seeds, the dog would eat them. Her mom wondered why they went through 50 pounds of dog food in a week.
It would not be easy to follow Belle's routine. Next was Bartlett, and her jokes ranged from stories about her family, to religion, to a personal battle with cancer – tongue cancer. (Oh, the irony.) She wondered aloud if the slogan could be, “Tongue cancer: We can lick it,” and that got some chuckles. She also got the audience engaged by picking on the Middle-Aged Guy in the front row. Since he was one of the few guys in the audience, he should have known better than to sit in the line of fire.
It was clear that the veteran comedian, who has a long resumé including being a producer, director, writer, and editor was the most anticipated guest. Stogner is also co-founder and a performer at Backdoor Comedy Club in Dallas, winning multiple Gracies and Emmy awards. She knew how to work the audience, choosing just the right time to use dramatic pauses, sound effects, and flailing arm gestures. She started by thanking everyone for coming out, because it’s so much easier than coming to them, immediately creeping out the audience but then causing rounds of laughter. As many comedians do, Stogner made fun of herself, taking cracks at her lazy eye – which we couldn't actually tell if she had one or not. She would sometimes cover the wrong one but would quickly improvise, which brought healthy laughs from the crowd. Then she said she would start over, commencing with, “Thanks for coming out,” threatening to begin again.
Men, beware: This show might get uncomfortable for you. (But isn't that what comedy's all about?) Their target audience is likely middle-aged women, and for the majority of the audience, the show delivered. It was also amusing to see the diverse styles of each comedienne, bringing us a smattering of jokes that could be loved or hated by, really, anyone.
Four Funny Females
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