Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Applause! Applause! Review of Boschetti, Scudder & Martin at The Duplex by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Boschetti, Scudder & Martin at The Duplex was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and appeared in Volume III, Issue 1 (April, 1998) of Applause! Applause!

Boschetti, Scudder & Martin - Mike Boschetti, Ken Scudder & Andrew Martin
The Duplex (61 Christopher Street, NYC)
Reviewed 4/23/98 at 10:00 p.m.   

"Boschetti, Scudder & Martin (not a law firm or an acid rock band)" was promoted as offering Stand-Up Comedy (And Some Special Surprises) which it provided in abundance. The show featured Janice Messitte as a Special Guest Star who turned out to be the M.C. of the show. Back in the early days of television, products were often sold in the stores with the notice "as seen on TV" because television was such a magical new product that everything seen on it was considered good. Quentin Crisp often speaks of this phenomenon in his book "How To Become A Virgin" which addresses how people can re-create themselves and do away with their past by spending only 10 minutes on a television show. Ms. Messitte, not quite yet a household name, is promoted using the same "if it was on TV, it must be good" philosophy since under her name on the flyer promoting the show is the following announcement: "(Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Rolanda, etc.)".

As it turned out, Janice Messitte was good and, in one of the first surprises of the evening, she sang a song. Ms. Messitte has an excellent voice, but she also happens to be a comic with a powerful stage presence and some good material which suits her chosen personality which she describes as being that of a "broad". She is likable, honest and endearing and more than competently fulfilled her duties as M.C. by warming up the audience with her "in your face" style of humor. The only problem was that some of her material was not well developed. For example, after making an excellent suggestion that fat people hold their own parade, she could think of no other follow-ups to that great opening line other than that the people at the parade could engage in the activity of "bobbing for pound cake." Then there were times when her crude comments crossed the funny-not funny line. An example is when she told a man in the front row "You want to fuck me so bad, I can tell." Not exactly a funny line! Overall, I enjoyed Janice Messitte and expect that with a little fine tuning, she will have an excellent career as a stand-up comic and, if she chooses, as a singer.
The first "stand-up comic" of the evening was Mike Boschetti, who is the worst stand-up comic I have ever seen in my life. This man would come in last place in every amateur comedy contest in the world. He would lose in this country because he has no comic timing and because of the monotony of his act. He would lose in foreign countries, where his audience did not understand English, because of his annoying pacing and lack of any stage presence. If I were a liberal and believed in passing laws to protect and shelter people, I would not give Mike Boschetti a license to be a stand-up comic. After all, if licenses were given to pianists, would you give one to someone who had only 5 fingers and played only half the notes of every song. Similarly, you couldn't give a license to Mike Boschetti who rarely tells a funny joke and always says "OK, Thank You." after the audience fails to laugh at the many bad jokes he does tell. I say "tells" instead of "delivers" because it appears that Mike Boschetti, who may very well be mentally impaired, went to Barnes & Noble and wrote down a number of bad jokes which he memorized and repeated on stage. His best line was "This girl said we have a lot in common, which I found out when we were in the nude." But even that line was poorly delivered. The audience rarely laughed during his act and the worst part of it is that he didn't seem to care.

Where is Audrey II when you need her?

The ever surprising Andrew Martin was up next and for the first time, I was able to catch a glimpse of the talent which enabled him to obtain a M.A.C. nomination a few years back. After explaining that he is from Rego Park, he goes on to sing a wonderful rendition of "Queens", written by Francesca Blumenthal and the late Addy Fieger. Although I have heard others sing this song, none can compare to Martin's unique style which had me enjoying this song all over again as if for the first time. Andrew Martin has a powerful  and pleasing voice which flatters the songs he selects and delivers them to his audience with love. It left me wanting to hear more. As for the stand-up portion of his act, I was pleased to see Mr. Martin adding new material to his already excellent act. My favorite was the story he tells about a "fat, ugly woman", who he corrects to call a "metabolically challenged beauty impaired person" who sat across from him in a subway car "looking at me like I was a dessert she wasn't going to finish" who finally said to him "What are you, a h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l?" to which he responded "What are you, an o-p-t-i-o-n?" Andrew Martin is getting better every day. He is brighter, more energetic and more on the mark every time I see him. He is superbly talented and has a great future! 

The final comic up was Ken Scudder. He is a brilliant writer and a very funny man. He said that the state of modern protest is jaywalking. While people in old age homes boast that they protested to stop the war or fight for civil rights, today's activists ignore the edict "Cross At The Green, Not In-Between" and say "Fuck That Man, Fuck The Man!". Mr. Scudder also doubts the new research results which report that the average man masturbates 7 times a month. He says you can draw a number of different conclusions from those results. The first is that the average man can't count beyond seven. The second is that the average man is a lying sack of shit and the third is that somewhere in Montana, there is a guy who hasn't touched himself in 27 years to make up for what he did in January.

Ken Scudder does a very funny bit about Clinton and why people like him despite the sexual scandals that seem to haunt him. Scudder's view is that the American people want a President who can get head from a 21 year old, especially since he is the last President since Kennedy who could. He says "good god" to the thought of giving head to Johnson. He says "Nixon was "Tricky Dick" in name only, Carter didn't have a dick if you look at his policies, Reagan's dick was in Nancy's pocketbook and who in this room would go down on Bush." This bit was so funny, you could almost forgive him for forgetting that Ford was also President. I say that he forgot since a talented writer like Ken Scudder certainly couldn't fail to come up with a sex joke about a man named after an automobile, where many sex acts often take place.

The surprise of the act was when Ken Scudder sang a song putting new lyrics to "Candle In The Wind" criticizing Elton John for re-cycling that song, a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, for Princess Diana instead of writing a new song for her. Mr. Scudder has a lot going for him. However, if I were his manager, I would tell him to always dress up when performing on stage. Performers who dress in jeans, sneakers and teashirts insult their audience by not taking their performance seriously. Ken Scudder has the talent to succeed. All he needs is better packaging.

Overall, I enjoyed the show and when you see "Scudder & Martin" return, I encourage you to catch the show. You won't be disappointed!! 

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