If an asteroid was heading straight for earth, and we were faced with the annihilation of society as we knew it, the best comedy sketch groups to get caught in a comedy venue with would be Sidecar and Pangea 3000. At least you'd die laughing.
Both New York groups have previously built half hour shows around the apocalypse, and they both manage to make the end of the world funny as hell. Their show is being presented by the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company.
Pangea 3000 will open the show with a selection of their favorite skits. Dan Klein, Arthur Meyer, Zack Poitras, and Seth Reiss are all contributors to The Onion and perform at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Klein describes their humor as "playful, with the sense of silliness of a five-year-old combined with 100 combined years of comedy knowledge and expertise." Hence their laser-tagging raptor logo — it looks silly, but it's also a potent blend of ancient and high-tech.
Pangea strive to be new and unique. "We're always asking ourselves, 'Is this funny? What is comedy?'" says Klein. Combining this self-analysis with daft noises and fart jokes, the foursome start weird and get funnier as they go. Past examples of their absurdist sketches include acting out an incomprehensible Japanese videogame, pranking each other with a whoopee cushion, and a scatologically inspired spelling bee.
"We're always finding new ways of being funny," Klein says. "We're so jaded, we work in comedy and we all watch so much. If something isn't genuinely making us laugh we don't have the heart to put it on stage." The guys spend a long time on their scripts, constantly rewriting as they gauge audience response.
"When we first started we were slaves to the scripts," Klein remembers. "Now we follow them pretty tightly but let ourselves go in the way we approach them." So the way a sketch is performed can change if the mood takes them. We anticipate a funny, farty, and slightly surreal half hour that will leave audiences dazed but desperate for more.
The young men from Sidecar take well-known situations — an awkward date, cops interrogating a suspect, a man's voracious hunger for pizza — and twist them in bizarre ways. The date ends with a Mario Bros. battle. The cops keep losing their handcuffs. And the pizza teases the man with its doughy tastiness throughout his life. Co-writer/performer Matt Fisher describes their compilation show "This One's for the Losers" as "strange."
Sidecar tour extensively. "It allows us to put our material in front of a wider variety of people," says Fisher, who is joined by Justin Tyler and Alden Ford. "But our core audience is probably pop-culturally literate, over-stimulated young people."
One of their signature shticks is an homage to early 20th century comedians and singers. "There will be waxed moustaches," Fisher smirks. One of their funniest past sketches starts with a stand up comic called Nick Deebs, who has filched his material from a 1920s performer who jumps on stage and does the routine in perfect period fashion, complete with Edwardian hat and, yes, a mustache.
Whatever form their cutthroat razor-sharp comedy takes, Sidecar's skits are guaranteed to be unusual and unpredictable.