Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nightmare Without Pants - Joking Envelope

"All that matters is that you did your taxes wrong, and now scary things have to happen."

You're invited to Tracy's nightmare. She has 45 minutes to fall in love with a stranger in front of a live audience. If she fails, even scarier things will happen. A comedy about fear and pants.

Joseph Scrimshaw. All you need to know, right? This is also on my Top 5 list of returning acts I'm most looking forward to this year. I've been hard on Joseph Scrimshaw (maybe not so much in print, but in my mind) and I've been trying to figure out why.

Certainly some of it must be envy. The guy's ridiculously talented, enormously popular, and ceaselessly funny. All of his friends and family are equally talented and hilarious. He's making his living as an artist while I'm, well, blogging about other people's Fringe shows. But it's not easy, even if he makes it look that way. He is successful because he is relentless and hardworking and never settles for giving the audience less than his best. He's even got popular holiday and children's shows in his repertoire. Every year, every six months, heck, it seems like every other week, he's coming up with something new and entertaining and sharing it with the rest of us. It's exhausting finding new good things to say about him.

I took a couple of years off from seeing his stuff in Fringe because, honestly, he doesn't need me in the audience to sell more tickets. But just like he's a favorite of mine, he's also a favorite of Mom's, and he's got a cast so chock full of talent it's almost not fair to anyone else - Shana Custer, John Middleton, John Riedlinger, Anna Sundberg, and of course Joseph. Plus, that one thing I tend to carp about, this show actually looks like it's about something other than art or laughs. Taxes, love and fear.

Scrimshaw came out solo to pimp for his show in the preview. His character will be tormenting Custer's character who screwed up her taxes - and now she must pay, by falling in love with a stranger in front of a live audience in only 45 minutes' time. Scrimshaw knows how to work a crowd, even a reluctant audience participant, and he worked it here. I don't know where he gets this stuff, or how he pulls it off, but man, I'm glad he does. The Fringe would be a lot less funny without it. So yeah, see this one.

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