On Wednesday, I caught Facebook, a show regularly performed at UCB Theatre in LA by transplanted New Yorkers, most of whom were in the now defunct Respecto Mantalban. Only Chad Carter from that crew is in Montreal, joined by Chris Gethard (who also has a solo Zoofest show, Chris Gethard’s Magic Box of Stories), Lennon Parham (who also has a solo show, Lennon Parham: She tried to be normal, and 3 improvisors (from LA?) I hadn’t seen before.
Facebook the improv show, is much like other UCB shows in that it begins with real-life biographical info solicited from an audience member and follows with lots of scenes riffing off those ideas, strung together long-form style. I’ve seen a UCB troupe rifle through someone’s wallet asking them about their cards and receipts, I’ve seen a UCB troupe ask an audience member for an interesting story; the Facebook show is very much in the same vein.
The Facebook hook involves getting an audience member up to log into their Facebook account. Monsieur Carter (he’s in Quebec now) then clicks through their wall, profile and photos rooting for unusual information. He’s very good at gently poking fun at people (Is this a photo of your cleavage smoking a cigarette?). The only real problem with this hook is that it’s lengthy and rather low energy. It took about 5 minutes to get good source material and he still had to prompt the audience member for information that wasn’t on Facebook. Admittedly, his first subject was impossibly stupid and unforthcoming.
Still, the Facebook hook works to draw in a crowd–attendance was good.
On to the show: the improv was good–that’s the important part. The style of improv is unabashedly funny. It isn’t silly; it’s clever. It isn’t story-driven; it’s game-driven. It’s also direct–initiations are to the point, exchanges are quick–let’s get down to the business of making people laugh. It’s not two people enjoying a park car delighting in their own company; it’s two people enjoying a parked car because they’re not at the “blowjobs and weed party”. Or something.
UCB are performing every night at 8:30 at Mainline Theatre until Saturday. Recommended!