It appears every few months or so the wacky and creative geniuses at Groundlings Theatre develop something more outrageous and stupid funny than their last venture. I don’t know how they come up with the most innovative ideas in a short period of time but it’s never a dull moment. In the past few months the Groundlings Company created “When Groundlings Roamed The Earth” and “The Untitled Groundlings Project” two temporary shows which utilized their acting, superb writing skills and inventing situations too twisted for Jerry Springer.

The gang is all here and wants to make you laugh until you hurt

Now, their latest project is a blast from the past that most of us want to forget: high school. Leave it to the Groundlings members to make one of these most traumatic experiences a human being can go through into one hysterical ride down a distorted memory lane.

From the first McJob with long hours with a pittance for a paycheck to the nervousness that comes when performing in front of the whole school, all the recollections placed way in the back our minds is now staring you right in the face. It’s hard not to weep at the ridiculousness adolescence puts us through but a second look forces former teenagers to see how easy high school was compared to the adult world.

Unofficial emcee Hugh Davidson began the evening announcing the conglomerate Time Warner bought The Groundlings Theatre. As part of the buyout, Davidson gently informed the audience they must fill out a customer survey which should take roughly two hours. All of this ensure Time Warner reputable service, however they see it. From that precursor, the show continued with is high caliber of comedy.

Everyone remembered no matter how much it’s denied the agony of a blind date. This is the dilemma that strikes Edi Patterson in “The Set Up” written by Patterson and Andrew Friedman. Jim Rash and Stephanie Courtney believe that Patterson and are perfect for each other since they both have the same deformity: horrendous looking teeth. The beautiful Patterson has long buckteeth and talks about her love for beavers. No surprise there. Friedman’s character has a dark tooth due to eating rocks as a child. It’s a dramatic love story for misfits. And when they kiss, or try to, with the 1987 power ballad “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” it’s painful to watch but too compelling to look away.

Andrew Friedman and Edi Patterson are every dentist’s financial dream and professional nightmare

If a blind date isn’t nerve wrecking, then being behind the counter ringing up food orders comes a close second. The Colonel’s finger licking chicken has some major problems, one of which is the KFC bowl with layers of artery clogging ingredients. Courtney and Nat Faxon wrote the “KFC” skit, and helped me realize that the bowl isn’t a savorable dish. Their vision of working at a fast chicken place drudges up every nightmarish reality come true. A lot of underpaid workers come barely squeezing through the manger’s cramped office for a meeting.

Courtney plays the militant supervisor demanding to know who wrote underneath the KBC bowl ad: “Try our new famous bowls today and you’ll blow chunks tonight.” As the manager, Courtney proves there’s noting wrong with the juicy chicken, white gravy and whatever else concoctions are in the meal. She promptly vomits confirming the awfulness of the new creation.

This is what happens at KFC when they test out their new dishes. Scary, huh?

In between the skits was what I refer to as lethally entertaining commercial breaks. Friedman, the grimy tooth man from “The Set Up” wrote “Yanni PSA” where the New Age musician rehearses for an announcement for muscular dystrophy. With his Jesus looking wig and handle bar mustache he terribly mispronounces the disease. Friedman gets agitated with the unseen director, Ken Sublette, telling him that have to do another take. FUCK is Friedman’s repetitive remark. He wasn’t too happy when Sublette told him to say MS instead of the full name.

Andrew Friedman gives his best Yanni face to his adoring public

“What’s MS?” asks Friedman in his Yanni Greek accent.
‘It’s short for muscular dystrophy,” the director said.
“FUCK” said Yanni.

A fresh creative mind added to the Groundlings family is actor/comedian Mikey Day from MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out” sketch comedy show. Day morphed into the eccentric magician Criss Angel from the A&E cable show “Mindfreak” for his penned skit “Send Me an Angel”. He looked exactly like the magician from the spiky hair, toned body and rocker leather wearing outfit sans shirt. He chose three audience members to get their ‘mind freaked’, which is magician talk for getting them to say what he wants but in a very manipulative manner.

Like the Criss Angel magician does on his shows, Day promised outrageous stunts like traveling back to 18th century where he will give birth to Japanese twins. Day’s mind works in very mysterious ways and it’s that skill that made his skit one of the best of the evening. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous to look at.

Mikey Day can get your mind freaked better than magician Criss Angel

So much craziness in the two-hour show that goes by too fast. Every word, syllable, movement is priceless. The company works great in their individual shows and dynamic as a whole. Never has a cast been well-orchestrated and amazing to witness. Be sure to visit the bathroom before you sit down. Your bladder will thank you for it.

“Groundlings Yearbook” plays at The Groundlings Theatre at 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. until Saturday, September 22. Tickets are $20. For more information call 323-934-4747 extension 37 or visit

Photos by Samuel Primero

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