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The Shot at Fort Fringe
Saturday, July 13 at 6 p.m. Friday, July 18 at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 20 at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26 at 9 p.m.
They say: Capt. Tickle Britches is a night of sketch comedy that brings together ninjas, superheroes, racists, stalkers and cooties shots. These scenes by Funny or Die’s Allan McLeod and Robby Newman are sure to make you and your britches laugh out loud.
Chris’s Take: Half the fun of sketch comedy is trying to decode each sketch’s animating joke before it’s made obvious. Capt. Tickle Britches — which should probably be Ticklebritches, given how the eponymous Captain and master of ceremonies played by Ardavan Sepehr does not seem to evince the sort of “A Boy Named Sue” toughness that having the first name Tickle would necessarily engender — zeroes in on some predictable targets: the dubious value of a Liberal Arts degree, the overuse of slow-mo scenes of violence in dumb TV shows and music videos, the clumsy philosophical Aikido to which bigots reflexively resort when confronted with the inanity of their beliefs. There are no new ideas under the sun; the execution is all. And the execution here is Good Enough. The Shop venue is mere steps from the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent bar, and you’re allowed to bring in your drinks with you. So.
The sketches were all written by Allan McLeod and Robbie Newman, who do not appear in the eight-member cast assembled by director Cliff Williams III. While the minor alterations made to pander to the local crowd — hey, people in DC are early for their colonoscopies but always late for theatre, amirite? — are lame, they’re confined to the tween-sketch banter that Sepehr handles with ease. He has enough of a young Bill Murray quality to appear unperturbed by the unevenness of his material, or indeed by anything else. The sketches themselves mostly land, although they return to the well of mocking the finger-wagging condescension of “The More You Know”-style PSAs often enough that it starts to seem like a default punchline for the sketches that don’t have one. That said, the specific form of bigotry targeted in the concluding sketch really is funny.
See it if: You’re comfortable with present-day Saturday Night Live‘s sketch batting average.
Skip it if: You demand that your sketch comedy maintain a Key & Peele hit rate.
Photo: Liberal Arts Man to the rescue.