Sketchfest Review: Reggie Watts, Garfunkel & Oates at Mezzanine, 2/1/12

by Dakin Hardwick on February 6, 2012

Singin' and Dancin' (All Photos by Marie Carney)

Some of the most talented people on earth hail from right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, we have so many uber-talented musicians, writers, comics, speakers, artists, chefs, and so on, that it’s easy to take them for granted. Reggie Watts is one of those performers. He seems to be performing all the time, and everyone in the bay area seems to swoon over him. Yet, I have yet to see him. It could be due to the fact that every show sells out, no matter what the venue. Which is also how Sketchfest was able to book him four nights in a row, also giving him the ability to indulge in whatever he pleases.

This show was billed as a “comedy” show, although Mezzanine looked to be ready for a full on rock show. There were no chairs, and the venue was filled up awfully quickly. The bars were busy, and the crowd was very excited, very early on. LA folk-comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates warmed up the show, and they were greeted to rock star size cheers. They seemed humbled by the size of the crowd. This venue holds a hair over 1,000 people, making it one of the larger rooms that can still be qualified as a “night club.”

Since we are in San Francisco, they opened with the show, rather appropriately, with the song “Weed Card.” This is song, rather cleverly, mocks the whole system of getting legal marijuana. San Francisco was one of the first cities to permit this. Keeping political, they performed the Pat Robertson send up “Sex With Ducks.”  The audience response to this song was hysterical, and helped warm the band up too. A gentleman in the crowd yelled out “No Gag Reflex,” causing the ladies of Garfunkel & Oates (Riki Lindhome & Kate Micucci, respectively) to actually think about that notion for a moment. Which also allowed for the duo discuss the very nature of duck penises.

These two performers are brilliant on stage. They harmonize beautiful, and work well with the audience. Their set was far too short, but they managed to knock out 9 songs, complete with very witty banter in just about 30 minutes. Micucci has one of the most animated faces I have ever seen, eliciting laughs without saying a single word. Laughs kept coming, and laughs on top of laughs. They showed intense control during a mime portion of “I Don’t Know Who You Are,” as well as an intense staring contest with the audience during “Hey Girl (In The Moonlight).” Each song played was complete with a funny introduction. They also never seemed to be playing a “character.” These two women came off very genuine on stage, which is wonderful. Even the awkward hip hop track about not being able to perform a handjob was funniest because you actually believed that these two women couldn’t perform a handjob to save their lives.

Setlist

Weed Card

Sex With Ducks

Pregnant Women Are Smug

I Don’t Know Who You Are

Ex Boyfriend Song

Hey Girl (In The Moonlight)

Self Esteem

Go Kart Racing (Accidentally Masturbating)

I Don’t Understand Job

As for Reggie Watts… It’s impossible to really describe what he does. I believe that he puts “comedian” on his resume`. Calling him a comedian, however, is like calling an artisan ice cream sundae a thimble of milk. Within the first ten minutes, he told jokes. He also performed a monoluge in fake Danish, and created a dubby dance number using only his mouth and looping pedal.

He has amazing energy, and just runs from one character and idea into the next. The centerpiece of the show was an extended musical that he “made” on stage. He actually, referred to it as a “Pussical.” He played keyboards, he beat-boxed. He played four different characters with four completely different voices, and even different vocal ranges!  He created Rodgers & Hammerstein style big show stopping numbers, as well as classic funk and hip hop songs. All while telling a story that I had lost completely because I was so impressed by how easily he could just “be” so many different people at once.

This may have been the only comedy show that I’ve ever been to where the bulk of the audience was actively dancing. He created nearly a dozen songs, all in different voices and styles. He sang a pure R&B duet, performing both the male and female voice. He sang a song in an elf language. He tooks inspiration from Garfunkel & Oates, and did his own song about handjobs. He told jokes, played mic games, plugged in his phone to the PA and simply danced on stage.

Reggie Watts is a one of a kind performer, and we should thank out lucky stars that he is one of us.

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