I will fully admit to the fact that I had never seen Wainy Days prior to this evening at Marines’ Memorial Theater. The reason I went to this performance was because the cast bridged my favorite TV show when I was 12, The State, and my favorite TV show now, at the age of 35, Parks & Recreation. It’s silly that I’ve never seen it, as I think David Wain is one of the greatest comic minds of our generation. So, I knew I was in for a surprise or two.
The show opened up with David Wain on guitar, fiddling around a bit. He tuned up, and did a bunch of really sloppy riffs. After a few moments of this, Rashida Jones casually walked out and performed the Wainy Days theme, proving that, not only is Ms Jones stunning and an impressive comic actress, but she also has a lovely voice. A lovely voice that she has amazing control over, as they opted to do a second song together: a reading of “California Dreamin’,” where Jones managed to mangle the song in a wonderfully brutal way.
After a glorious opening set, Wain introduced the first sketch of the evening- a redo of “Cyrano de Bluetooth.” It was a delightful piece where Adam Scott of Parks & Recreation was dining with his friend, played by Michael Showalter of The State. Michael Ian Black was the waiter. Showalter spies an attractive woman across the cafe, portrayed by Zandy Hartig of Children’s Hospital. (Yup, it was pretty much a supergroup on stage) Showalter decides he’s too shy to talk to her, so he asks Scott to speak for him, using his bluetooth to feed him words, a la Cyrano de Bergerac. It was a delight to watch, and an obscene amount of effort went into this performance. Especially since this event was only happening once. All of the players were in fine form, and the entire scene eventually evolved into the kind of chaos that was characteristic of classic sketches from The State, only slightly more grown up. Hartig was especially impressive.
This was followed by another musical performance from Wain. A song called “Rocko Veina.” I have no idea what Wain was getting at here. It walked the fine line between humorously bad and actually bad. Wain himself even performed the song as if he was bouncing between playing it as so. Even Black, shortly after the song, asked if he was to be taken seriously. It was the only mis-step in the 90 minute performance, so I think we can excuse it. The next set was a reading if Wain’s first Wainy Days that he ever wrote. At the age of 12. Black asked Wain if “This was a bit,” and Wain said “no.” There’s no way to know the truth, as it was incredibly vulgar, but in that 12 year old kind of way. On stage was Wain, Black, Hartig, Jones, Showalter, and the amazing Janet Varney. There isn’t much to say that doesn’t give away every joke, but Wain as a 12 year old seemed to take an almost Woody Allen approach to the script. His best friend is a girl that likes him, but he likes the hot girl in school, and he ends up with the middle school principal. You know, every 12 year old boy’s dream. And it was all super dirty.
Wain, during a quick set change, did the most epic group Mad Libs session I’ve ever been involved with. I laughed so hard I cried. The show closed with the introduction of Arden Myrin for a performance of Wains’ rock musical “Rochelle.” Myrin played Wain’s girlfriend that he brings to a nightclub, only to find himself in a situation where he gets to play drums for the sexy nightclub singer Rochelle, expertly performed by Varney. The songs were catchy, and Varney’s singing voice is a powerful thing. This was one of the most amazing comedy performances I’ve ever seen, and I’m definitely ready to become addicted to another web series.