Encore Michigan

Saving the world, one comedy sketch at a time

Review May 07, 2016 Amy J. Parrent

FERNDALE, Mich.–Pity the sketch troupe Human Amusements. One of them has accidentally summoned the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse via Snapchat.  And now here they are in a battle to save humanity and their own mortal souls. They have, however, one advantage; they get to choose the field of battle, and they choose a sketch-comedy-off.

This war at Go Comedy! seems a bit lopsided, as the human comedy group guides us through some well-conceived and performed sketches. These range from the exasperatingly overly helpful restaurant staff to a woman perplexed by the Kroger self-scanner, and another woman who doesn’t quite know what “having sex” is.

Some of their best moments include God as a CEO running through the talking points of Old Testament decrees, an item which gets a callback late in the show. Another highlight is two men solemnly sharing the details of their Great Juice Cleanse of 2016. They are sorry for the people who don’t have enough food…not to eat it. (Not that there’s anyone in Oakland County, for instance, who might say something just like that.)

And then there are the Four Horesemen’s hilariously awful attempts at writing something “For comedy.” They circle around it, almost understanding, for instance, that a famous Nora Ephron rom-com line is funny. But these dour bringers of famine and pestilence are much in need of a Humor GPS to guide them from setup to punchline.

The wonderfully grimly clueless Four Horsemen include Maggie O’Reilly, Aaron Mondry, Matt Penridge, and Erik Haenke. Matty Naas is one of the (Human) cast standouts–playing everything from the above-named celestial being to a “comedy” writer whose angular modern piece seems to be dealing with severe Daddy issues. Naas, Pj Jacokes, Chris Petersen, and Jen Hansen all share writing credits, and commit so hard to the bits that even a one-joke premise about inappropriate funeral comments works well.

Just when the fight seems to have unquestionably favored the Humans, another of them is revealed to have insulted the Almighty on–of course–Snapchat. Turns out you should not question the Lord’s songwriting skills on social media. Fortunately, a compromise is reached, and the Ferndale club, along with the rest of the world, was left standing to bring the laughs another night.

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