Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who Knew The Disaster In Haiti Could Be So Funny?...

Last night my friend Natalie (who really should be a blogger but so far isn't set up with one so I can't link to her here...) and I had tickets for the Family Guy/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia live stage show to benefit the relief efforts in Haiti. The event was being sold as a double bill with "special guests" appearing along the way, but from the minute Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson tweeted about bringing their live "Nightman Cometh" back, I was in without or without anyone else.

The evening opened up with comedian Jeffrey Ross (dressed up appropriately for the evening in red seemingly corduroy pants and a plain black tee shirt) doing a set about being from New Jersey, traveling via airline these days, and even singing a few apropos love songs (being that it was the start to Valentine's day weekend). Just before Ross went on, I spotted Dr. Drew Pinsky in the audience and a seatmate wondered just what he was doing there because "shouldn't he be in rehab or something?" His attendance was a bit of a head-scratcher that would be answered a little later on.

After Ross finished up, he brought out an orthopedic surgeon who is part of Partners in Health, the organization benefiting from the evening's ticket sales. He spoke briefly about his trip down to Haiti and urged everyone to send a text to donate $10 to the relief efforts. Ross pointed out what many in the audience were glancing around and thinking: "[we] had paid a lot of ... money to be there tonight already!"

The Family Guy band played the opening theme song and then introduced the cast one at a time to take their seats at center stage to begin their table read of the famed (and banned) abortion episode. The whole cast except Mila Kunis was in attendance, and Julia Sweeney was a very special guest star. In between act breaks, the cast broke into some of the songs that made the show so popular, including the one about the Drunken Irish Dad and a deleted song from a previous episode where Peter sings with Jesus. Highlights here included Seth Green filming some behind-the-scenes footage; Alex Borstein performing Lindsay Lohan's audition for the new Little Mermaid Broadway musical; and Borstein performing a very touching and somber performance of "Hungry Eyes," dedicated to the little Haitian babies. Oh yes, and Dr. Drew? Well he came out and performed a little duet with Seth MacFarlane. Who even knew he could sing!?

MacFarlane, much cuter in person, by the way!, lead the cast in the table read and proved just why this episode was so controversial and not ready to air. But I admit I did laugh many more times that I would have if I were just watching this show at home. Something about seeing the actors faces as they switch voices (especially Green's!) just added to the whole experience.

After a brief intermission so the stage could be reset for the "Nightman Cometh," Sarah Silverman came out and did her usual schtick and even responded to a somewhat timid heckler in the second row. By then the crowd was more than amped up and ready for the main attraction, though, which in tonight's performance featured all of the usual players (but sadly no cameo from the McPoyle Brothers) and Rhea Perlman as piano player, Gladys.

Some of the lines got trampled by the audiences'cheers and screams, which was unfortunate for anyone in the audience who may have just come for Family Guy and didn't really know what to expect from this full-on production. Even those Sunny fans who never had a chance to see this performance live before were surprised (but giddily so) at some of the tweaks and additions (such as Mac's Nightman solo). Danny DeVito seemed particularly 'on' and of course brought in some of the biggest laughs and cheers (especially when Charlie Day threw DeVito's chewed gum into the crowd).

The energy of the crowd undoubtedly rubbed off on the actors who encouraged everyone to sing along to the closing show chorus of "Dayman" and then came out and took their bows, graciously inviting back onto the stage MacFarlane and Ross and reminding (and thanking!) everyone once again that while it was all fun and laughs, they were there to support a very worthy cause.

Unfortunately the only photo I took of the night was one of my aforementioned friend Natalie and one of two lone Greenmen we saw leaving the theater after the performance. And she deemed that picture "deleteable" so I will not be posting it here. Instead, please enjoy some photos from the last performance of the live "Nightman Cometh" I saw-- at the Palladium in Hollywood back in September 2009:

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Now I'm going to have "Dayman...ahhhahahhhhh" stuck in my head all day.