Sunday, January 24, 2010

Show #4 "Firesign Theatre" at the Broadway Center

Okay, okay.....maybe this show really doesn't qualify (strictly speaking) as "theatre," but hey. These guys call themselves a theatre, they act, write scripts and tell convoluted and strange stories.

I guess it qualifies.

For any baby boomer who might remember the weirdest comedy act to hit the 1970's, this evening was a true delight. For some of us, it was a trip down pre-Alzheimer's memory lane. It was an ex-hippie love fest evoking laughter and groans courtesy of an old vinyl LP. It was a drug-less college reunion sponsored by the Dept. of Redundancy Dept. and the Natural Guard.

Mind you, I didn't spend a whole lot of time during the 1970's listening to Firesign Theatre's albums. I listened enough to remember most of the dialogue from "High School Madness" featuring Porgie Tirebiter and his pal Mudhead. I surprised myself when I was still able to sing along to the theme song.

But, it definitely surprised my husband Randy that I even knew of Firesign Theatre at all. For someone who is as "straight" as I am (translation: not into drugs or alcohol during college...or any other time in my life), it is a wonder that I am familiar with a comedy group whose fan base mostly listened to their work while stoned or drunk at parties.

That's me...a woman full of contradictions.

For those readers (are any of you even out there?) who still have no clue as to who these Bozo's are, Firesign Theatre is an off-beat comedy quartet who perform "radio style" stories using only their voices and occasional sound effects to entertain and spoof just about everything in society.

Popular with the counter-culture youth during the 70's, they still perform to this day. Only now it is different. Counter culture youth have turned into gray-haired grandparents. Instead of battling the "establishment" (sorry, that's a 1960's term, huh?), they now fight middle-age spread and male pattern baldness. I saw plenty of that from where I sat in the audience at the Broadway Center in Tacoma.

But even from my aged vantage point, their mixture of new comedy material and classic stuff from their albums was still pretty darn funny. Funnier, in fact, than it was back in the 70's.

Wonder why that is?

Maybe it's because I don't have to pretend to be hip, cool, stoned or drunk to belong to the crowd that listened to their stuff. Maybe I am no longer embarrassed about being "straight", uncool, unhip or (gasp!) a G-rated Christian who laughs and is entertained by a variety of things, both straight-laced and otherwise.

It is possible that most of the audience members tonight were ex-stoners. Maybe some of them are current stoners. Randy made comments intimating that I looked like I didn't belong there tonight, that I was too "straight."

I disagree. If I laughed and enjoyed myself, I belonged there. Just like I belong at the "legitimate theatre" watching Shakespeare or at a church service singing praises to God. I like to think I break the mold.

Perhaps that's what I like most about Firesign Theatre. They broke the mold, too.
So, let's hear it for Turkish towels! (Don't ask.....)

Photo courtesy of Firesign Theatre

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