Review: ‘Hbo Comedy Hour Kathy & Mo: The Dark Side’

In one of the hour's more successful pieces, Maddie (Najimy) talks to an unseen friend, relating her experiences with gay nephew Philip, who now has AIDS. It's a wise and touching monologue.

In one of the hour’s more successful pieces, Maddie (Najimy) talks to an unseen friend, relating her experiences with gay nephew Philip, who now has AIDS. It’s a wise and touching monologue.

Gaffney’s strong solo piece features her as an anti-abortion picketer in front of a clinic.

Compared with those, many of the rest of the pieces are rather lightweight, though often amusing, like the one featuring Najimy as a cabaret performer and Gaffney as the boite’s gay bartender.

Show has been resequenced somewhat from the live version, with a few sketches dropped to fit the hour format. Cameras under direction of Dean Parisot find some interesting perspectives, and televised sound allows audience better grasp of exaggerated (and sometimes mush-mouthed) East Coast and Southern accents affected by Gaffney and Najimy.

The show closes effectively with Maddie and Syvvie meeting real-life Gaffney and Najimy after the performance; it demonstrates how an actor can play two roles simultaneously without any fancy-schmancy special effects.

Hbo Comedy Hour Kathy & Mo: The Dark Side

(Sat. (8), 10-11 p.m., HBO)

Production

Videotaped at the Henry Fonda Theater, Hollywood, by Paula Mazur Prods., Good Dog Prods. and Big Fat Liar Prods. Executive producer, Kathy Najimy; co-executive producer, Mo Gaffney; producer, Paula Mazur; line producer, Tom Sherren; director, Dean Parisot; editor, Suzanne Pettit; production designer, Naomi Slodski; lighting designer, Simon Miles; sound, Dana McClure; music, John Boswell. #Cast: Kathy Najimy, Mo Gaffney. The transfer from stage to HBO videotape of Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney's long-delayed follow-up to their 1991 "Parallel Lives" runs smoothly. Current show features Najimy and Gaffney portraying a variety of characters, including elderly Maddie and Syvvie, holdovers from "Parallel Lives." The two are introduced as ushers for "The Kathy & Mo Show."

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