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Arts and Theater 1

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Black Tie International:
"HA!"...The Musical


A Night @ The Theatre
With Abe Shainberg

“HA!”  … The Musical

A Musical about stand-ups with stand-ups – at the Triad on West 72nd street

By Abe Shainberg for Black Tie



If you ever wanted to understand the plight, angst, history and lifestyle of the modern day comedian see this play. And it is a play … about stand-up comedians.

Hosted by Kevin Farley, a ringer for his late brother Chris, and possessed with the same manic energy and hilarity; this musical play literally … and musically … runs through the gamut of every type of comedian you could find in a comedy club.

Comedy clubs. Spent a lot of time in NYC comedy clubs in the 70’s. Times change. The angst and life deprivation most comedians endure for their craft is clearly evinced here – but – and I mean BUT – if the ever present F Bomb bothers you, this play and any current comedy club is not for you.

What is for you -  is a wonderful evening of comedy, music, introspection and laughter; if you can get past the coarseness, vulgarity and … F bombs.

I wrote comedy in the seventies and worked with many of the greats. Some used profanity for effect. Some just spoke like that. Apparently, now everyone speaks like that. Still, the audience was composed of many middle-aged people who looked like they were still working. And they were laughing and having a great time. So was I.

The writing and direction by Michelle Wendt (and Darren Katz) deserves kudos as they put together a rich and entertaining evening. The cast is charming, inventive and …  hard to believe -  they are wonderful singers and dancers. Their “shticky” dance numbers made me laugh the hardest all evening.

Aside from the wonderful Kevin Farley, who dominates the show, we are introduced to the various KINDS of comedians. The Opener – a gay guy with a mustache who sings opera (funny), the Shock comic – shocking & thanks for working out, the Ethnics – Indian – “ No, I’m Pakistani”, the Black comedian – a dark skinned Grouch Marx, the Latino – a good looking actor with little material, the Prop comic – this guy looks like the bastard child of Seth McFarland and Gilbert Gottfried, (He’s half Asian and half Jewish) , the Dummy comic – a born – again something out of Alabama, the Guitar comic – a pretty blonde who needs more lines, the Crowd Work comic – a very likeable funny song and dance act, the Girl comic – whose riff made my date blush ( a great singer), and finally the Headliner – Christian Finnegan, who had a great comic set and whom I’ve seen twice before and liked at comedy clubs.

Bottom line – this is a show. It’s a show about comedians but it plays well. You are never bored, and pretty much always laughing. The musical numbers made the show for me so congrats to Julian Velard, Jonathan Ivie , Jim Territo & Michelle Wendt again.

Some of the best numbers were: “Comedy”, “Make You Laugh”, “Bus in LA”, “Crowd Work” & “Back of the Store.” Every number deserves praise though. This show at the upstairs Triad Theater is well worth seeing.


joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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