By Alan Kopischke
July 19, 2007
It all started innocuously enough with popsicles for dessert. We all eat together as a company, including our kids. Mine aren’t up here yet, but six kids (ages one through eight) from three company families are living on property and eating with us. One night we had popsicles for dessert – the kind with lame jokes on them. There’s a question on the exposed part, and once you’ve finished your popsicle you can read the answer.
“What do you call a flying skunk?”
The kids were beside themselves with glee. Soon we were all reading our lame popsicle jokes, which led to more jokes from kids and adults alike. It built in a frenzy until the kids took over and declared it “Kids’ Comedy Night!”
“What do you call a flying turtle?”
They captivated us for more than an hour with knock-knock jokes, made-up jokes (which mostly made no sense at all), crazy dances, frantic instructions, unintentional physical comedy, kooky songs, debates over how exactly Kids’ Comedy Night should be conducted, and whenever they were at a loss for material, requests for guest jokes. What a riot! Neil Friedman kept encouraging the kids to finish their jokes with “I’m here all summer!” or “Try the veal!” as if they were Borscht Belt comedians in supper clubs. It worked. The kids were even funnier when they added one of Neil’s taglines.
“What did the lawyer name his daughter?”
“I’m here all summer!” (See, wasn’t that even funnier?)
I laughed harder than I had in a long time. It’s great fun when you allow yourself to surrender to silliness. Comedy can be pretty tough to do, but kids are naturals. They want to make you laugh simply because it’s fun. The purity and sincerity of that is irresistible.
“Centipede who?” (semi-rude punch line you may fill in for yourself if so inclined)
Adults work a little harder to win our laughter. We love to see the joy on the face of a 5-year-old who has just discovered her mastery of a knock-knock joke. A 35-year-old has to show us something more.
(And now, gentle reader, I ask you to imagine a 3-year-old doing a “butt dance”)
The company of “Unnecessary Farce” has been working hard at the choreographed chaos so essential to any good farce. Director Greg Vinkler and his talented cast, designers and technicians have concocted some hilarious surprises and intricately timed shenanigans in Paul Slade Smith’s cleverly contrived two-room, eight-door bungled police sting. Deadly bagpipes, incompetent cops and the Highland hitman. That’s more fun than a pile of popsicle sticks.
Surrender to silliness through July 29th at “Unnecessary Farce.” For tickets, go to www.peninsulaplayers.com or call 868-3287. If you’d like to tour the new theater or have any other questions about Peninsula Players, please contact me, Alan Kopischke, at 868-3287. We’re here all summer!
Alan Kopischke is the development director for Peninsula Players Theatre.