Dallas — What bowled me over the most in One of Us Is Carol’s sketch show Self-Aware? I Hardly Know Her —and it’s a tough decision among many candidates—is how it effortlessly demonstrated a comic sensibility that was older than anyone on stage.
There’s the opening sketch, in which a hapless office worker tries simply and hilariously to retrieve a dropped pen that channeled Carol Burnett. A falling-over-water-cooler-jugs was straight out of the Chevy-Chase-As-Gerald-Ford playbook.
You can go back even further; a skit with a scatting airline passenger seemed downright vaudevillian. So did a wonderful, wordless interpretive dance scene of sorts about being forever absorbed in your phone—it was already, for my money, the funniest sketch of the show, but then they topped it with a callback that I dare not describe (go see it!) except to say it showcased their bona fides in surrealism.
But it wasn’t all slapstick, dance, and silent movies, as good as they were at that. Emily Gee throws herself into the role a diabolical French waiter so effin’ hard that it was no less than a triumph of character. And then there’s Sally Bowen’s sickly mall walker, who taps into the Tim & Eric-stripe of uber-strange that she’s famous for among her peers.
The cast is all women, but doesn’t have to be in terms of characters played. It just is; as in the way Kids in the Hall is all dudes. In a certain sense, that fact is the best part of it.
All-women shows that make a point of underlining womanhood are usually fantastic, perpetually necessary, and I will celebrate such shows for as long as I live. But that felt almost beside the point here, and as such, was and is the ultimate rebuke to the “Women Aren’t Funny” postulate of Adam Carolla, et al.
I saw this show at the end of a very long day. With just an hour’s sleep the night before, I dragged myself through my own troupe’s practice followed by a laundry list of errands that couldn’t wait. I was running on fumes and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to be alert enough to meaningfully watch this show and review it.
But One of Us Is Carol was thrilling in the way a roller coaster is, and woke me right up and made me all better. You gotta see it.
» Self-Aware? I Hardly Know Her runs every Saturday at 8 through October 13 at Dallas Comedy House.