Director M.D. Sweeney carries the lion’s share of the responsibility for the evening’s pedestrian nature. By permitting his performers to repeatedly throttle the audience with each one-joke scene long after the horse is in the Elmer’s bottle, any honest humor that might have arisen is dead on arrival.
Affable Barry Saltzman serves as the comic master of ceremonies, easily tossing out one-liners, and singing slightly under pitch (as do all the vocalists, though at times it is intentional). Musicians Jonathan Green and Chris Malmin provide instrumental flair as they attempt to salvage the musical numbers from the singers’ approximately correct tones.
Some of the funnier acts include Michael Naughton and Matt Taylor as a pair of out-of-control basketball “dudes,” and the supremely talented Naughton portraying an actor, recently graduated from an eight-year program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, sharing his favorite audition pieces. His melodramatics and almost gymnastic physical control make for a hilarious episode.
Another standout, Benjamin Livingston, brings down the house with his tone-poem, “Blood on the Hills,” which is little more than an ode to a dead squirrel.
Still, in each of these more successful instances, the sketch continued too long, thereby killing the humor — great shades of “Saturday Night Live’s” weaker moments. You can imagine what the unfunny scenes are like.