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By Donald V. Calamia
I love a challenge - and the 10 p.m. show at Ferndale's Go Comedy! Improv Theater certainly is a challenging show for critics to review. It's not that the show isn't funny - trust me, it is, and sometimes hilariously so - but certain words, phrases and topics used throughout Missionary Accomplished: The Audacity of Hump are generally among those that polite society doesn't like to see appear in print - and therein lies the challenge. And if one woman's very loud "Oh my God" when she realized what a particular skit was REALLY about during a recent Thursday night performance is any indication - which almost brought the house down, by the way - Go Comedy's first-ever original scripted show may not be for the naive, the sexually unadventurous or those who are easily shocked or offended.
But what else would you expect from a sketch comedy that celebrates sex in all of its various forms and permutations?
The fast-paced show opens with a look back at the final days of the Bush administration, as a new and far-more stringent sex education curriculum is discussed at a school staff meeting chaired by the obviously not-very-happy principal (Tiffany Jones).
A couple of brief skits follow, after which the show kicks into high gear. Ryan Parmenter and Pete Jacokes play young tweens at a boy-girl party who find themselves stuck in a closet together for "seven minutes in heaven," thanks to a game of spin-the-bottle that goes awry. The inexperienced Ryan bemoans the fact that he doesn't know how to kiss a girl - and Pete offers to educate him. Not once. Not twice. And while I won't reveal more, the actors' commitment to the scene is both brave and well-executed - and it's one of the best segments of the night. (It certainly seemed to shock a few ladies in the audience!)
Another highlight follows shortly after. Two senators (Chris DiAngelo and Lesley Braden Phillips) grill Rear Admiral Barnes (Parmenter) about the many uses for seaman in the U.S. Navy. As you can well imagine, the double entendres begin flying immediately and never stop – nor do the laughs, thanks to the actors’ expert discharge of their duties and Parmenter's ability to maintain a serious, military demeanor throughout the silliness.
Other laugh-filled moments include Jacokes coaching DiAngelo's "first time at bat," and a lesbian couple (Jones and Jen Hansen) at a "Stop the Hate, Vote No for Prop 8" rally who discover the grass may NOT be greener on the other side after all!
And in the show's only moment of improv, Jacokes was thrown an unexpected curve when a patron tossed him the movie Schindler's List around which he was to build sexually related jokes. Watching him squirm was loads of fun - as was watching him mentally edit his mostly never vocalized responses.
Preceding Missionary Accomplished every Thursday are Soapbox Derby at 8 p.m. and the 9 O'Clock Comedy Hour.
Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale. 10 p.m. every Thursday. Tickets: $10. For information: 248-327-0757 or www.gocomedy.net.
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