Troupe mines minutiae for big laughs
By Punch Shaw
Special to the Star-Telegram
FORT WORTH - This is one precocious 6-year-old.
Comedy troupe Four Day Weekend celebrated its sixth anniversary of making it up as they go along Saturday night.
It was just a typical night of gags centered around oversize fruit, cheese helmets, yellow shirts and the certainty that everybody's first name will rhyme with something.
Watching this (mostly) improvisational ensemble of five comedians is almost more like a magic act than stand-up comedy. Seeing them take disparate concepts and weave them all into the same skit is a bit like seeing a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat. In both cases, the entertainment value is based on what they did and the wonderment of how in the world they did it.
Four Day's show is built on slyly controlled chaos. The players often use the answers to questions posed to audience members to construct a runway for some inspired flights of fancy. They take the most mundane information (name, job, hometown), drop it into an absurd context and then, somehow, find a way to make it funny, often by incorporating the data into a rhyming song.
And are they smart or just lucky? How could they have known to pick the guy in the audience named Josh who happens to work on a Macintosh?
That is the kind of question Four Day Weekend makes you ask yourself throughout its almost two-hour show.
The show feels impromptu, but it is held together by some set pieces that serve the dual purpose of generating material that will be exploited later and giving the show enough structure to keep it from wandering. On Saturday night, the troupe worked a nice blend of planned, semiplanned and completely unplanned bits.
The core of the troupe adds some tuneful humor. Also joining in the fun was Josh Roberts, described as the "top student" in the company's comedy school. Now there's a final we'd all love to take.
They received plenty of help Saturday night from an audience that was ready to play along. Like the woman who was asked her age. Even though she answered politely, cast member David Wilk immediately realized his error and noted that it was a rude question. He tried to make amends by asking, "So, what do you weigh?"