Sketch comedy is a difficult thing to do well. Case in point – Saturday Night Live. It’s been on the air for some 35 years, and though it’s got a devoted audience, many still say the show is not as funny as it once was. The success or failure of any sketch comedy show depends on the strength, energy, and commitment of the actors on stage. If the energy is even slightly off, then the audience will react with silence – making even the most seasoned comedian dread going back on stage. Luckily for the Evergreen Players, they have the talents of Lisa DeCaro and Gail Montgomery to support them.
Currently running at Evergreen Players is Parallel Lives, a sketch comedy show written by the comedy team of Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy. Together, the two comedians wrote and starred in The Kathy and Mo Show, which was later filmed for HBO and won two Cable Ace Awards. In the opening scene, two Supreme Beings plan the beginning of the world with the relish of two slightly sadistic suburban wives decorating a living room. From this moment, the audience is whisked through the outrageous universe of Kathy and Mo, where two actresses play men and women struggling through the common rituals of modern life: teenagers on a date, sisters at their grandmother’s funeral, a man and a woman together in a country-western bar. With boundless humor, Parallel Lives reexamines the ongoing quest to find parity and love in a contest handicapped by capricious gods—or in this case, goddesses.
Directed by Len Matheo, Parallel Lives is a fun example of both the positives and negatives of sketch comedy. The mere fact that this production is funny and entertaining is due to the talents of its two actresses – Lisa DeCaro and Gail Montgomery. The two powerhouse actresses tackle each role with a beguiling energy and enthusiasm that is simply contagious. Each character is distinctly different from the others and the actresses are 100% committed to bringing the audience in on the ride.
The challenges lie within the timing. Sketch comedy needs to come at you fast and never stop. Once you get the audience laughing, it is easy to lose them if you give them too much time in-between sketches. With costume changes between each scene, the timing is thrown off and the energy is lost. Though DeCaro and Montgomery do their best with each entrance to get the energy back up, their work would have been a lot easier had there been a faster way to change costumes. A simple costume rack and dressing screen on either side of the stage would have allowed the actresses to change on stage, keeping the audience in on the joke – since a great deal of the humor comes from the fact that every singly character is being played by only two people.
There are also a few moments within Parallel Lives where it seems the script forgets what it is supposed to be. Najimy and Gaffney, both noted feminists, use their platform to get across their own messages about some fairly serious topics. While theatre is absolutely the right place for political agenda and personal issues, for this particular sketch comedy show those issues seemed out of place. When these more serious subjects come up, the whole play feels lost for a moment – then the comedy comes back and it rights itself.
DeCaro and Montgomery both have moments on stage that will have you laughing until your sides hurt. Though the humor may be a bit dated and the script gets a bit lost in the serious touches – the strengths of DeCaro and Montgomery deserve your attention. Sketch comedy may not be for everyone – but every fan of sketch comedy should see this show.
Evergreen Players Present
A non-stop comedy about how women and men respond to the circumstances of their lives.
Jan 15 – Jan 31
FriSat at 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 2 p.m.
$18 Adults; $14 seniors (60+)/Students
303-674-4934 or on line
27608 Fireweed Drive