22 MONTROSE VOICE / AUGUST 20, 1982
The Comedy Workshop resident company (left to right) consists of
Fred Greenlee, Ken Polk, Toni Potts, Paul Menzal, Sharon Menzal
The Best of Comedy Workshop: Insightful Humor
By Billie Duncan
They exist in a netherworld somewhere
between the Twilight Zone and your funny
bone and they enter each with amazing
They are the actors who populate the
stage of the Comedy Workshop, 2105 San
Felipe, with everyone from the ultimate
commuters to Mexican musicians to ama-
tuer Shakesearean actors.
With five woooden chairs, a wonderful
unseen sound effects person and superb
imaginations, the cast of The Best of
Comedy Workshop, Volume II creates a
variety of settings that serve as springboards for their particular and pecular
brand of humor.
Some of their characterizations and
ideas work better than others. All of them
have a sense of insight into the way that
poeple feel, think and behave. Although
some of the spots (segments of the show)
border on complete absurdity, they are
anchored by the very human reactions
and manuverings of the characters in the
The opening number, which was a live
musical feature, was apparently about the
Workshop. The lyrics were almost impos
sible to understand. It is possible that it
was titled something like "Big Laughs"
and might have explained about the exit
signs in some clever way.
The next spot was a very, very funny
look at what motivates the average commuter, played in the absolutely serious
style of such films as Damnation Alley
and Godzilla. The sound effects in this one
added immeasurably to the sense of
absurd reality (or real absurdity).
The next spot also used sound effects,
but with a less satisfying result. This
scene played on the basic irratation that
most people have when rude and noisy
nurds sit next to them in a movie and proceed to make it impossible for anyone to
hear or see what is going on.
Even with the super comic talents of
Kenneth Polk, this scene lacked punch.
Pulling the show back on track, the next
scene was a warmly intelligent duet of two
old men in Tranquillity Park. The scene
opened with one of the men feeding the
rats. As the dialogue progressed, the characters commented in a gentle and humorous way on Social Security, Preparation
H, sports strikes, the PLO, budget cuts,
senior citizens in the army and over
The actors managed to portray older
people without being strident or mocking.
A scene in a Mexican resaurant showed
off the group's musical abilities and was a
laugh riot at the same time.
The last spot in the first act concerned a
guy involving his friends in a lie in order
to get out of a marriage proposal. It was
excellent, showing very human and natural interrelationships that formed the
basis for roll-over laughter.
After a much needed intermission, the
second act opened on a European train
ride that featured Steve Farrell as an overbearing young novelist who carried most
of the scene in a direct address to the
audience. The sound effects on this one
were superb and probably involved more
than one person.
The next scene featured two actresses in
much the same way as the scene about the
two old men featured two actors in the first
act. Set just after a bridal shower, the two
Houston housewives talked about the
other guests and traded personal secrets.
The only bothersome part about this was
what went into the crock pot.
With everything else on the level of honest humor with the laughs coming from
the sense of the truth about the situation
and the people, the bit of absurdity with
the food just did not fit. It was probably
funny to the cast in rehearsal.
As a change of pace, a slide slot was
next, with music backing the slides of a
cowboy mowing the lawn. The concept
and execution combined to provide a real
The closing piece was a presentation of
the Betty Furness Memorial Theater's production of MacBeth. Enough said.
The cast on opening night was composed of Paul Menzel, Ken Polk, Sharon
Menzel, Vicki Farrell and Steve Farrell.
Alternating on other nights with Steve
will be Fred Greenlee.
Paul Menzel is solid and intelligent in
his approach, while Ken Polk is a total
wacko, adroitly walking the tightrope
between truthful humor and complete
Sharon Menzel has a keen sense of characterization and can switch from a soda-
slurping old biddy to a tender girlfriend on
the drop of a cue. Vicki Farrell combines
warmth, honesty and a sharp sense of
Steve Farrell has a good sense of concentration and a developing sense of flair.
The Best of Comedy Workshop, Volume
II is exciting and refreshing and (moBt of
all) exceedingly entertaining.
This Week In Montrose
(Friday, Augusl20. through Thursday, August26)
Zelda Rose 9pm Tuesday through Saturday 4 Mary
Hooper 4 Bill Hudson 9pm Monday at Rascals, 2702
Jim Cater & Jeff Longino Bpm Friday; Tom Williams &
Jeff Longino 8pm Saturday; Greg Davis 8pm Sunday
4 Monday; Tom Williams Spm Tuesday; Lee LaForge
8pm Wednesday; Mickey Rankin & Roxie Starr 8pm
Thursday at Keyboard, 3012 Milam, 528-6988
Richard Askin & Dana Rogers 10pm nightly (except
Monday & Tuesday) at the Copa (piano bar), 2631
Sheila Ceasar 9pm Tuesday through Saturday &
Lionshare 9pm Sunday & Monday at Baja's, 402 Lovett, 527-9866
Alexandra Haas 4 Michael Bailey Friday. Saturday,
Wednesday 4 Thursday at Arno's, 4002 Montrose.
Keoki Kona 5pm Friday & Saturday. 3pm Sunday 4
Spm Wednesday & Thursday at the Hole, 109 Tuam,
■ COUNTRY & COUNTRY/ROCK
The New Happy Trail Riders Country-Western Boggle Band 9:30pm Friday 4 Saturday at Happy Trails.
715 Fairview, 521-2792
Ab 4 the Rebel Outlaws 9:30pm Friday 4 Saturday 4
8:30pm Thursday at the Exile. 1011 Bell, 659-0453, &
8:30pm Sunday at Brazos River Bottom, 2400 Brazos,
Flying Blind Band 9pm Tuesday-Saturday at Miss
Charlotte's. 911 Drew, 526-8840
Mustang Band 9:30pm Friday 4 Saturday & 8:30pm
Wednesday 4 Thursday at Brazos River Bottom, 2400
Happy Trial Riders 9pm Wednesday at E/J's, 1213
"L" 9pm Friday 4 Irish Folk 9pm Wednesday at the
Parlour, 2402 Mandell, 529-8069
Susan Christian 5:30pm Friday; Reynolds & Rand
5:30pm Monday; Rawslyn Ruffin 5:30pm Tuesday: &
Lyra 5:30pm Wednesday & Thursday at Kindred Spirits, 5245 Buffalo Speedway, 665-9756
■ SHOW GROUPS
Dixie Kings 9pm Saturday 4 Spm Sunday at Happy
Trails, 715 Fairview, 521-2792
Mata Hari 9:30pm Friday & Saturday & Lee LaForge,
Kim Yvette & Dianne Chaiston 9pm Sunday at Bacchus. 523 Lovett, 523-3396
John Day & Co. 6pm Sunday at E/J's, 1213 Richmond, 527-9071
The ADQ Jazz Quartet 8pm Sunday at Harrar's. 428
Robert Ceballos Group 9pm Sunday & with Jimmy
Ford 9pm Friday, Saturday, Wednesday & Thursday
at Las Brisas, 614 W Gray, 528-9959
Windrose9:30pm nightly (except Sunday 4 Monday);
& Horace Crisby 9:30pm Sunday 4 Monday at Birdwatchers, 907 Westheimer, 527-0595
■ NU WAVE/PUNK
The Jitters & Random Culture 9:30pm Friday, the
Haskells & the Explosives 9:30pm Saturday, the Leap
9:30pm Wednesday, and Us. Vernal Abuse & Doomsday Massacre 9:30pm Thursday at Omni, 1540 Westheimer, 528-4230
Linda Clifford 10:30pm Friday at the Copa, 2631 Richmond. 528-2259
The Best ol Comedy Workship Volume II 8:30 4 11pm
Friday 4 Saturday 4 8:30pm Wednesday 4 Thursday;
Manuel Labor is the Not the President of Mexico
8:30pm Sunday 4 Monday at Comedy Workshop,
2105 San Felipe, 524-7333.
Stand-up comics nightly at Commix Annex, 2105 San
Jeft Altman, Robert Aguayo 4 Adrienne Tolsch 8 4
10:30pm Friday, 7:30, 10 4 midnight Saturday, 4
8:30pm Sunday; & Gabe Kaplan. Barry Marder 4
Adrienne Tolsch 8:30pm Tuesday, Wednesday 4
Thursday at the Latf Stop. 1952-A W. Gray, 524-2333.
Donna Day, Naomi Sims 4 Hot Chocolate Sunday
evening at the Copa. 2631 Richmond. 528-2259
Little Bobby, Tracey, 4 guests Sunday evening at
Exile, 1011 Bell, 659-0453
"Playgirl Follies" 10:30pm Saturday at Pink Elephant.
1218 Leeland, 659-0040
Talent shows Tuesday evening at the Copa, 2631
Richmond. 528-2259. Wednesday evening at Midnite
Sun, 534 Westheimer. 526-75t9; 4 Thursday evening
at Twins. 535 Westheimer. 520-0244