Dallas — Hippies used to love to say that if you remember the ‘60s, you weren’t there.
For many Xers, that adage now applies to ‘90s. And of all the things remembered, some are better left in the past. Especially some of the music.
Watching a preview of the latest sketch show from the Dallas Comedy House reminds one of just how many tired, crappy, sappy tunes entered the collective ether two decades ago. With the passage of time, these ditties are now ripe for satire. Something about tragedy plus time equals something or other. Anyway, these songs were certainly tragic then and comedic now.
Each player in the cast of That ‘90s Show hits all the right—and wrong—notes in sending up some truly awful songs.
Show me an adult who knows which group sang 1999’s “Summer Girls,” and you’ll be showing me a liar. Holy smokes, that song is terrible, and Cody Hofmockel does a good job attempting to justify the lyrics in an early scene, as Colin Jamerson seems appropriately befuddled and bemused at the shallow depths of “I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch.”
Jonda Robinson directs the show. She said the cast introduced so many bits, they had trouble narrowing it down to a dozen or so for the show. Many of the largest stories of the decade— O.J., the Clintons, Heaven’s Gate—didn’t make the cut.
Cast member Sarah Anne Adams first pitched the idea back in November.
“I’m a fan of all things ‘90s,” Adams says. “It was an idea we all started instantly having fun with. We all wanted to provide a fun and lighthearted show. Something for the audience to take an hour escape from The Real World.”
“There is so much stuff from the ‘90s, I think we pitched about 40ish sketches, and Jonda had to tell us to stop coming up with new material,” Adams says. “It really came down to what we enjoyed most and what we felt the audience would enjoy the most.”
Early in the show, Adams entrusts her beloved Tamagotchi to an audience member, who must swear upon a VHS copy of Space Jam to “protect, care for and love” the pocket-sized digital pet for the remainder of the show. It’s a recurring theme that gets funnier as it progresses.
Gabriel Vasquez continues to elicit big laughs every time he enters a scene, and his, um, Smooth persona is on full display once again in this show. He is at his best improvising with a participant of that game show Regis Philbin hosted for what seemed like every night of the summer of 1999. Vasquez also excels when tasked with announcing the nominees for “Best Movie of the ‘90s” by drawing names from a fishbowl full of audience-submitted films.
David Allison marble-mouthing his way through that GD earworm of a song that a certain Canuck made a career of is sure to only get funnier as he … ah … fine tunes it. There’s another scene that alludes to that second-highest grossing film of all-time, in which various cast members ask “Jack” to “draw me like one of your French girls” that should also only get better as the show progresses.
So, if you’re ready to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real—pun intended—That ‘90s Show runs each Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. through March 18 at the Dallas Comedy house in Deep Ellum.