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Fringe Fest 2013 Reviews: RAPA's A Night of Laughs


Friday night I attended RAPA theater's comedy showcase A Night of Laughs, featured a sampling of several of the Fringe Festival's comedy acts. Despite the name of the program, however, I was disappointed to find that the laughs were relatively few and far between.

Maybe it's just my comedic tastes. I prefer the more risqué, raunchy, and downright inappropriate when it comes to humor -- think Louis CK or Jim Jefferies. The show at RAPA last night was relatively tame by my standards, and featured jokes largely of the PG-13 variety.

The show's host, Peter, started things off well with a strong bit and some hilarious jokes about penis pictures. However, the show took a drastic dip in quality right after that point. The second act was an incoherent bit from Judy Clay, who rambled on about everything from parking spaces to Syria. The routine lacked truly funny moments, and the audience was uncomfortably quiet throughout.

Next up was the comedy-rap duo Garden Fresh. This was a lighthearted act featuring two white middle-aged rappers who poked fun at the current trends of the genre. Instead of rapping about street cred, hos, and money, this duo spits lines about moral goodness, the importance of saying please and thank you, as well as their love of water and milk. The act was amusing, but didn't garner more than a smirk from me.

The next act of the night featured Rochester improv-comedy troupe Nuts and Bolts, which started to pick up the show. Improv is hard and you never know what you are going to get, but this troupe was able to create some funny moments and get the audience involved.

The fourth act featured New York City sketch-comedy duo Kirsten O'Brien and Evan Zelnick. These two relied on a blend of video, animation, and physical comedy in their performance. It was over the top, boisterous, and ridiculous. The pair impressed in their performance ability and displayed a wide range of theatrics. The performance was filled with energy and featured everything from mock fighting and dry humping, to a giant cloud rollerblading around stage pretending to be the weather. While at times I found this show a bit much, there were some genuinely funny moments, such as a unique sexual take on an age-old argument. Who came first, the chicken or the egg?

Finally there was Matt Griffo, who in my opinion stole the show. Just at the moment when I was starting to get bored, Griffo's raunchy musical comedy injected just the right dose of inappropriateness the show had been missing. Griffo is a charismatic and talented performer and his songs are risqué and push the comedic envelope into more daring grounds. For his final number Griffo played a hilarious, downright explicit, gay love song to a heterosexual middle-aged man in the audience who was there with his wife. It was the only time I truly laughed out loud the whole show.