Cage Fighting For Dummies 

DCUP gives tit for tat

The Simons
Fri., Jan. 18, 10 p.m.
Comedy Royale
Sat., Jan. 19, 9 p.m.
Presented by DCUP Comedy; $12.50; Stars at American Theater; www.dcupcomedy.com

Comedy fact No. 1: Chickens are funny.

Especially the rubbery, yellow kind.

The District of Columbia Unscripted Players (DCUP) know this and have built a successful act in their hometown of Arlington, Va., on that fact.

But for their first Charleston gig, the chickens have been chucked, says DCUP co-founder Jack Reda. He's bringing ventriloquist dummies instead.

The Simon Sez dummies, purchased on eBay, used to be part of the Boneless Chicken Cabaret. Because the chickens "didn't speak any English at all," the Simons allowed DCUP to add funny dialogue to their short-form improv act.

"The Simons got such a great reception they got their own show a couple of years ago," Reda says, adding that all three of the Simons talk the same, act the same, and have identical pretensions.

They're creepy but hilarious enough to have won the Best Sketch Performance at 2007's Miami Improv Festival. The dummies vary their act every time they appear. When the Transformers movie opened, one of the Simons became a truck in disguise. Another suited up as a wheelchair-bound "Simon Hawking," talking via a computer voice, and answering cosmic questions from the audience.

And let's not forget DCUP's six-team comedy competition appropriately called Comedy Royale. Nothing's off limits for DCUP. From singing a dirty ditty to performing a Tickle Me Elmo autopsy, anything's fair game.

2008 Charleston Comedy Festival

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