It took a lifetime of fandom, four years of journalism and three previous 2014 articles to see a show that could only be described as “preposterous.” After consuming every brand of insanity, irony, and imagination, never have I seen such incommunicable ridiculousness. The Slipnutz Variety Show, presented by Andy Blitz, Jon Glaser and Brian Stack, three Conan-vetted writers/performers, was the quintessential Sketchfest experience: hilarious, subversive and unpredictable (above a fine, peanuty powder).
“Meta”, a creative self-reference, fails to encapsulate the tongue-in-cheek, terraformesque world-crafting on hand at the beautiful Brava Theater. Essentially, over 80—contractually obligated—minutes, the show played a symphony with only one note. One note. ONE NOTE:
“We’re the Slipnutz, slipping on nuts/Clowning around and slipping on nuts/we’re the Slipnutz, slipping on nuts/Look he fell down, “I slipped on some nuts.”
From four dorky measures sprang an alternate dimension expounding the Slipnutz’ international fame, endorsement deals, personal tragedy, origins and many other facets of superstardom reserved for pop culture icons. Brilliantly, in its blundering bombast and overwrought instability, the Slipnutz—in ostensibly a reunion show—made the perfect satire for the festival itself. SF Sketchfest’s notoriety has blossomed from an ability to reunite casts, summon legends, and celebrate celebrity. What would happen if Janet, Cole and David lost their minds and booked an insubstantial, trivial novelty? What would happen if the ends no longer justified the means, producing a deplorable cash grab? What if Sketchfest actually booked the Slipnutz?
They did. It was awesome.
A tremendous production level sold the farce. The cost of nuts alone nearly bankrupted the spectacle. Friends of Jon, Brian and Andy lent their support, often times begrudgingly. The show was “rescued” by a group of comics, helping the Slipnutz as a favor to the festival, braving allergies and elephants. Steve Agee, the indie everyman, chugged along like a refurbish jalopy, serving slice-of-life, an acquired cup of tea. Jackie Kashian, an expert of stand up known for fleet-tongued wisecracks, tried to remove the nut-dust before submitting to futility and delivering her condensed craftworks. Ron Funches, a lifelong Sliptnuz fanatic from the mean streets of Southside Chicago, lulled me to laughter with his serene—yet forceful—je ne sais quoi. Even actress and untapped, guitar-strapped singer-songwriter Maria Thayer lent a helpful hand, lambasting the group from the perspective of their victims (i.e. the nuts).
In hindsight, even at it’s most unexpected, the Slipnutz Variety show lived up to expectations. Professional comedians, featured numerously on national television under the umbrella of one of the most powerfully inventive men in show business; why wouldn’t it be masterly? My applause was warranted; the Vampire Weekend “get the hell out” exit music was rewarding; and a dead horse laid beaten in a peanut sift.
- Andy Richter, who made a finale cameo, is a gem. There should be a side street named after him, in whatever town he’s from.
- Unscripted technical difficulties, missed cues and projector issues, helped legitimize hopelessness.
Slipknot made an appearance.
- An adorable infant sang the Slipnutz song in one of the show’s video portions. Fortunately, my girlfriend wasn’t available to partake in the show or we’d probably have to buy “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.