Aisle View: Orange Pekoe On The Upper West Facet
Take two little old bickering men who share a $75-a-month, 5-bedroom rent-managed apartment at 73rd & Columbus and are celebrities in their own minds; and who are performed by youthful actors of an indeterminate age wearing ghastly wigs by which their actual hair appears to poke by. Put their two-man “show” in the Lyceum Theatre, for no good cause, plop them down on a stageful of reconstituted surroundings, and hit them with grossly unearned spotlights. This sounds, almost certainly, like a recipe for instant catastrophe and a sizable tax write-off.
Unless it seems that the actors are keen and their characterizations inspired. And that, happily, is the case with the awkwardly titled (and awkwardly assembled) Oh Hey on Broadway, starring the fictional Gil Faizon and George St. Greegland. Nick Kroll (from Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show”) and John Mulaney (from “Saturday Night time Reside” and Fox’s “Mulaney”) awkwardly shuffle onstage, and within moments smite you over the head with satire and corn so lowbrow, and highbrow, that you simply strap yourself into the rollercoaster and ride along for ninety-five minutes of hilarious insanity or insane hilarity, take your decide. Laughter ricochets through Broadway’s most historic playhouse, with Kroll & Mulaney skillfully stroking the hapless audience by stoking the comic fires with globs of chicken fat (AKA schmaltz).
Crowds entering the theatre may be off-put by the front of house photos; are these guys for actual, you might well ask (Kroll and Mulaney–who’ve been growing Faizon and St. Greegland for years and years–have a cult audience of their own, although not essentially one which usually buys theatre tickets.) Comedic expectations rise as you page by means of your program, although. John Slattery and Jon Hamm, those former “Mad Men,” should not solely listed as understudies; they have massive headshots and bios 4 times as long as Kroll/Mulaney combined. (From Slattery’s bio: “He is currently starring in the Front Page with Nathan Lane and John Goodman, which goes to be inconvenient.”)
Whereas waiting for the show to start, theatergoers with a eager eye will word that this contemporary New York play has a show portal–framing the stage, in entrance of the house curtain–that appears suspiciously like Boris Aronson’s “Anatevka” portal from the original 1964 production of Fiddler on the Roof.
So what, one wonders even before the lights dim down, are we about to endure That query is swiftly answered, and Oh, Good day by no means lets up. As for the surroundings–designed by Scott Pask, who has received Tony Awards for the putting in weave not-so-comparable E-book of Mormon and Pillowman–it is filled with jokes, together with some actual belly laughs.
Oh, Hello shouldn’t be a play, precisely; it is extra of a personal appearance by the Messrs. Faizon & St. Greegland, who blithely confer with themselves as “the orange pekoe teabag staining the countertop of American culture” and who “have been recipients of a 1997 restraining order conserving us 100 feet always away from America’s best actor, Mr. Alan Alda, baby.” That’s all you need to know. The night also incorporates a haphazardly wispy play-inside-a-play. The motion is also filled out with altogether an excessive amount of tuna, if you realize what I mean; but I do not anticipate you will know what I mean except you’ve seen the thing. And sure, there is too much tuna.
Kroll & Mulaney’s antics are usually not much like “The 2,000 12 months Old Man”; they live in a different world than Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner’s creation. But there is an apparent lineage from one to the other, kind of like 1955 Stage Deli vs. 2015 Fairway. Alex Timbers, of Peter and the Starcatcher and Right here Lies Love, directs; or perhaps we should say he successfully manages to keep up with his actors (who seem to be unrestrainedly improvising alongside the way).
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney in Oh, Howdy on Broadway
Picture: Joan Marcus
Built into the play is a mini-interview of the speak present variety; we are advised that Kroll & Mulaney’s minions case the house before the show and discover a celebrity, although that sounds a bit of a stretch. (Given that the stars seem to occupy a outstanding position within the stand-up and cable worlds, they might certainly be able to pull this off without ringers.) At the first press preview, they pulled Seth Meyers on stage and roughly roasted him for fifteen minutes. Meyers gamely played alongside, when they weren’t cracking him (and we the audience) up. To date, we are advised, guests have included Lena Dunham, Jimmy Kimmel, Katie Couric, Fred Savage, Laura Benanti and Aziz Ansari.
So no, we won’t present much of an outline of this properly-nigh indescribable present. But it surely begins out funny and moves past hysterical to sublime. This is presumably not what old Daniel Frohman had in mind when he built the Lyceum in 1903; but laughter will tell. As for me, I’ve been frequenting the Lyceum since 1969, and the opposite night time was the primary time I’ve seen a liquor bar briskly working in the decrease, dungeon-like lounge beneath the men’s room.