Saturday, July 25, 2009

This is Your Ridiculous Life!!! (Castillo Theatre)

By Zak
improv • comedic therapy • short but sweet

BOTTOM LINE: an improv show with a therapeutic twist

There are a lot of improv comedy shows in the city. You could witness Tina Fey and her "30 Rock" friends ham it up at The Upright Citizen’s Brigade, for example. Or you could check out top notch comedy up-and-comers from "The Office" and "Flight of the Concords" entertaining weekly at The People’s Improv Theatre. But if you are looking for something a little different, check out the folks yukking it up in the long running improv show at The Castillo Theatre.

Most improv shows consist of a team of actors who field suggestions from the audience and create funny scenes on the spot. This is Your Ridiculous Life takes this premise further by employing a real life therapist who conducts an impromptu therapy session with audience volunteers and then the actors act out scenes and scenarios from the “patient’s” life. If audience participation isn’t your thing, don’t worry, they won’t force anyone to come up and there and face the doctor unless you volunteer.

All right, I’m sure that this scenario could not work to it’s full potential all the time since it is entirely reliant on the guest “patients” that are interviewed. However, the night that I attended This is Your Ridiculous Life, my friend was chosen from the audience to have her life acted out on stage. And I have to say, it was hysterical. One of the reasons it was so good is that she gave very specific details about her life that were referenced in the scenes acted out by the actors. It didn’t hurt that her life is extremely entertaining as well. The troupe of actors captured her unique personality and created scenes that were extremely funny, not just for people who knew her, but for the entire audience. So, they really hit it out of the park. The other person that was selected from the audience was not nearly as interesting. For one thing he was really young, and had to be really pushed to give specific detail about his life, which to be completely honest, wasn’t very interesting. So if you are chosen, be specific when you are talking about your life. It’s funnier for all of us. Also, remember that the show is called This is Your Ridiculous Life, so if your life is not at least a little ridiculous, let someone else get up there and have a crack at it.

That being said, I still had a really great time. The show is short, running just over an hour so you don’t have that much time for the novelty of the concept to wear off. If you are looking for a quick laugh and an interesting take on improv, this could be the show for you. If you are in major withdrawals from the long television absence of "Whose Line is It Anyway" or maybe can’t afford your regular therapy sessions in these hard economic times, This is Your Ridiculous Life might be just what the doctor ordered.

And if comedy isn’t your thing, check out the political play reading series every Monday night or the film series every Thursday night in August. Check out for more information.

(This Is Your Ridiculous life will play next on August 8th at 7:00pm. The Castillo theatre is at
543 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Tickets $15; Seniors and Students $10 or call 212-941-1234.)

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