Monday, November 28, 2016

Laugh Your Stockings off with "What the Elf?"

Christmas needs a little comedy. 

Since Christmas is a time of rituals and habits, it can be difficult to make a holiday show seem fresh.

I mean come on, we all love The Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story, but every single year? Sometimes you need to mix it up a little.

If you're in agreement, then please don't hesitate to check out What the Elf?, the new holiday comedy sketch roundup from Brave New Workshop. It opens with a spoof on The Christmas Carol, continues through an eggnog themed twist on Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" and crashes right through an irreverent, modernized look at Jesus' birth.
This irreverence is my favorite part about Brave New Workshop: they never take themselves (or anything else) too seriously. Break character mid-song? No problem. Just tell everyone exactly what you did and start over. Feeling anxious about holiday parties? Just channel it into a sketch about your heart stopping social anxiety and make sure everyone else laughs with you.

That's not to say that nothing is taken seriously, however. A few more politically minded sketches grace this stage, including "Blelf" (the black Elf on the Shelf with the social commentary to match) and the particularly incisive "Game of Life," which gives players of different races different boards, cards, rules, and outcomes. It's hilarious and pointed, and I wish we had more satire like it floating around.
Other key sketch highlights include the "Gift Rapper," an elf-patterned suit coat wearing Gift Wrapper who raps about the wrap; "Santa Wolf," featuring Santa as a werewolf (because holidays are all starting to mush together); and a wonderfully updated version of the "12 Days of Christmas" that includes your parents nagging you about having kids, your father complaining about turning up the thermostat, a drunk friend, an insufferable holiday hipster, and your mother's Country Crock butter tub-clad leftovers.
The usual crew is back again for this show, including a very funny Tom Reed, Lauren Anderson and Ryan Nelson. Denzel Belin is a funny new update from the last performance I saw, and Taj Ruler is easily the standout again with her incredibly funny faces and voices. And there are plenty of seasonal drinks too, so make sure you grab a couple to sip while you snicker.

Tickets to Brave New Workshop are always reasonable, but today they are on sale for Cyber Monday (use the code CYBERMONEY to order before 6 a.m. on Tuesday, November 29. For more information about the show and box office, click on this link. What the Elf? Runs through January 28.