Grandma and Grandpa aren't just sitting around the condo playing bridge, at least not in the retirement mecca envisioned by the comedy troupe Separate Checks. In the sketch "Century Village Presents The Half Monty," bass-heavy dance music thumps while two women residents are entertained by five geezers shaking their butts and walkers. Stripping down to their Depends, they turn their cheeks to the audience and reveal rear-end-emblazoned slogans such as "Support the Arts."
The small audience at the recent opening night for a series of late-night comedy shows at the Hollywood Boulevard Theatre (HBT) roared at the hip-swinging, diaper-clad dancers. And while the 90-minute show's opening skit was scripted, Separate Checks specializes in presenting improvisational humor. Upon arrival, audience members were given "menus," from which they chose improv games.
For "The Liars Club," the host asked an audience member to fork over a personal item. Soon, a belt was being passed among a selection of goofy characters, who claimed to know the belt's true identity. Rhoda the Roach Lady, who raises cockroaches for laboratory use, said the buckle was an amusement park ride for roaches. Bob the Stripper, portrayed by a portly actor, said the belt was a leash used in his fetish fantasies.
Determined to add summer silliness to the musical entertainment offered at downtown bars and clubs in Hollywood, Jerry Waxman, HBT's producing director, recently opened up his space to a trio of comedy troupes. Pandemonium Radio Underground and Punch 59 round out the lineup.
Pandemonium, a comedy group normally found on WJRF-AM (1580) (Sunday 6-8 p.m.), will officially premiere May 29. "The concept of the stage show is: What if television had never existed?" says troupe spokesman Brian Linss. "Society really wouldn't have moved from the 1940s."
Punch 59, which will perform May 30, has been playing to sold-out crowds in Miami Beach clubs for the past month. Its sketch titles include "Touched by a Whore," "Sesame Street 90210," and "Captain Adequate."
The revolving ribaldry, Waxman insists, is meant to be more than just a summertime offering. "We're going to try to run this thing forever!" he says. "There's no reason this shouldn't work. Hollywood Boulevard is alive with people."
-- Gregg Wynn
Comedy troupes Separate Checks, Pandemonium Radio Underground, and Punch 59 will perform Friday and Saturday nights at 10:30 at the Hollywood Boulevard Theatre, 1938 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Ticket prices range from $7 to $10. Call 954-929-5400 for schedule or other information.