Check It Out: FrankenMatt at Second City
Second City is a name synonymous with theatre and comedy. From early roots in Chicago and Toronto, Second Citizens have gone on to become some of the most recognized and revered comedy faces to dot the landscape of the past few decades. Perhaps no other improv / sketch comedy theatre has been as nationally influential in bringing about the current comedy scene we have today. And with outposts all across America, Second City has always put itself in a position to succeed.
It is a shame, then, that many people are either unaware or uninterested in the Los Angeles incantation of such a storied theatre giant as Second City. Perhaps it is the location; tucked away quietly on the second floor of an unassuming string of buildings overlooking Hollywood Boulevard, it is simultaneously right in the mix and far removed. There are no gaudy flashing bulbs drawing the eye and and it's beholder up the staircase and into the well-kept theatre. Only a small sign and arm-length awning await the average showgoer to the 6560 Hollywood Blvd. address.
Luckily, there are still dedicated comedians walking the halls of Second City LA, ensuring that the long-lasting legacy of supremacy will not fade on their watch. Two such perfect examples are Matt Craig and Frank Caeti, who combine to form the successful (for a reason) two-man sketch comedy team FrankenMatt. Their shows, like their namesake, are a monstrous two-headed hybrid of funny that will leave you thrashing in your seat from laughter. And FrankenMatt's latest sketch show offering is nothing short of amazing.
With sketch comedy, you sort of expect one of two experiences: a heavily-themed show that follows basic plot principles and maintains the same characters throughout, or a disjointed show where characters are used and dropped along the hodgepodge path of scenes that make up a whole show. But with FrankenMatt, you get something different. The show is sculpted loosely around the journey of two friends on a road trip to Seattle, but is full of quick scenes and small vignettes that add flavor and show versatility, without interweaving themselves into a larger narrative.
The sketches also do a superb job balancing reality with pure absurdity, and action-oriented scenes with lots of movement, to more static and dialogue-driven sketches. Some of the funniest moments come when the duo is really branching out (be it in using small props to create hilarious additional characters), but these are then quickly balanced with side-splitting moments of conversation about the best slang term for smoking pot.
FrankenMatt is so unlike almost every other sketch show currently on tap, with its Family Guy-esque non-sequiturs and cut-aways, with its moments of technical crispness and dedication to showmanship, with its all-or-nothing approach to absurdity and heightening. It is not a show to be easily missed, especially if you have never been to 6560 Hollywood Blvd. to help cement the legacy of a truly great American comedy institution.
If you can't make this Saturday, be sure to pencil in their future dates: 1/17, 1/24, and 1/31.