The troupe is made up of four young men from America who are comedians. They are made up of Jack Hanke, New Michael Ingemi, Noah Britton and Ethan Finlan. They all have Aspergers. We were not sure what to expect from this act, but were pleasantly surprised. They explained at the very beginning they weren’t there to poke fun at people with disabilities, they were there to make us laugh, and they did.
There act was made up of a variety of sketches, the first being a satire about how people with disabilities are treated differently from those who have none.
In between each sketch, whilst their props were being readied for the next, Jack sang Homer’s Odyssey to the tune of Pokemon. Naturally it stopped abruptly when the new sketch started. Of course, it started up equally as suddenly when the next sketch had finished.
The job interview sketch was very clever and funny. The interviewer appeared quite ‘normal’ whereas the interviewee was drunk, had no shoes on, carried a toolbox and hammer with him and demanded that he be paid only 3 Kroner a year, rather than the £75,000 he was being offered.
The sketch leading into the interval involved some ants on the floor, a table with a bucket full of water on it and Jack. Noah explained that the audience could save either the ants or Jack who would put his head in the bucket of water. But the audience couldn’t save both. The choice was one or the other. Jack put his head in the bucket of water and Noah went off stage. A tense few minutes ensued and then someone from the audience knocked the bucket of water off the table and onto the ants. Thus Jack was saved.
Noah then asked if anyone could cut his hair during the ten minute interval. And someone did, live on the stage, cut his hair for him.
The second half’s sketches were intelligently funny too. Jack made a live phone call to an hotel in Fargo, North Dakota and asked the receptionist loads of questions about the parking, how many spaces there were, how close they were to the entrance of the hotel, how close the rooms were to the exit, how many and what type of beds were in the guest rooms. His final questions were about how often the car park was cleared when it snowed, was it daily, or hourly? All the answers were picked up by the microphone so we could all hear. Very clever.
New Michael and Ethan played parts of a professor and a student. The professor accusing the student of plagiarism of his doctorate essay, which was in fact a recipe for spaghetti Bolognese. Ethan explained that a member of the audience, who lived in Wootton, had written it for him and she was invited down to the stage to explain why she had plagiarised the professor’s essay. She played along and it was very funny. Surreal.
At the end they had a Q&A session and they had great rapport with the audience. Some of the questions weren’t answered, or if they were the answers were not understandable (to me anyway). They definitely have a different way of thinking. Sales of ‘merchandise’ went on after the performance and that too was fun with them saying that the T-shirts which said ‘I don’t want your pity’ on them were anything from £15 to £20 each, you decide.
All in all the comedy was very highbrow and cerebral. Extremely entertaining, very clever and witty. We enjoyed it immensely and if you get the chance to catch them, highly recommended.
Review submitted by: Maggie Currie
Performance date: Sat 24th June, at The Quay Arts