Best-selling author and humorist-storyteller David Sedaris (above) returns to the Count Basie stage on Thursday night…while Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood (below) bring their impishly improv’d interactions back to Red Bank on Saturday.
Even the most polarized of next-door neighbors could use a good shared laugh experience these days — and even as our Count Basie Theatre continues to reinforce its reputation as a premier stop for big-time touring comics, two separate events in the coming nights serve to point out that live comedy is a big tent, with room for more than just the tried and true stand-up standard.
Returning to the Basie boards for a third (or is it fourth?) appearance tomorrow night, October 13, author and essayist David Sedaris once again displays the audience-friendly skills that have allowed him to transfer his celebrated sense of humor from the printed page (Holidays On Ice, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and other best selling collections of essays, observations and occasional tall tales) to the performance stage, as witness his Grammy nomination for the audio version of Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. It’s a dexterity that’s allowed him success in formats ranging from Off Broadway theater to public radio and even children’s books — with a road show that will find him reading from his excerpted works, riffing on recent events, and interacting with the audience, sometimes in ways that might give pause to even the most “fearless” of comedy-club commandos.
The 2013 suicide of Sedaris sister Tiffany — and the controversial New Yorker article he wrote about it — served to cast the public radio-friendly spinner of stories in a new light for some longtime fans. But Sedaris hasn’t shied away from addressing this and other non-Lighter Side of Life experiences in his conversations with the audience, a facet of his appeal that takes nothing away from evergreen pieces like “Santaland Diaries.” Take it here to reserve tickets ($25 – $69.50) for Thursday’s 8 p.m. show.
Making another in a string of (almost) annual encore appearances at the Basie this Saturday, October 15 — and rooted in Whose Line Is It Anyway?, an international TV phenomenon that’s turned into something of a quiet but hardy perennial — the “Two Man Group” of Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood bring their low-budget/high-yield “Live + Dangerous Comedy” back in front of the local audience for (at least) the dozenth time.
As the two longtime touring partners (both veterans from various chapters of the comedy college that is Second City) are quick to point out, it’s a distinctly different show that comes to station stop Red Bank each time out — one that takes off from favorite TV bits like “Sitting Standing Bending,” “Helping Hands,” “Scenes from a Hat” (and the duo’s piece de resistance, “The Alphabet Game,” a routine performed blindfolded and barefoot on a stage full of mousetraps); drawing input from the show’s audience to create a crucial element of interaction between onlooker and improviser.
Still regularly visible on the current iteration of Whose Line (which has journeyed from the BBC to Comedy Central to ABC to the CW), the two masters of seat-of-your-pants theater mine comic gold from the most impulsive whims, double-dare challenges and brain-boggling ideas put forth by their own faithful fans. Take it here to reserve tix ($25.50 – $65) — and here for more info on other upcoming laff-fests at Basie’s place in the weeks to come, including the political satire cabaret of The Capitol Steps (10/21), two shows by Tracy Morgan (10/28), Robert Klein with Rita Rudner (11/4), and Brian Regan (11/5).