The Walsh Brothers-Tip of the Hat 4/7/11

The Comedy Bureau “Tips Its Hat” this week to THE WALSH BROTHERS.

Even though I’ve been to their monthly show at the UCB Theatre a few times, both Chris and David Walsh never cease to amaze in what they come up with, which was, this time around, having 4 bass players vs. 1 bass player, an amateur karate demonstration, and enough audience plants to almost have an Inception-esque sketch fooling even the plants themselves.

While most comedic duos take the tried and true formula of having one “straight man” and one crazy, unrelenting, uncompromising character to play against each other, the Walsh Brothers take a drastically different approach.   They both, as real-life brothers, mix degrees of honesty with being completely absurd/out-of-left-field/zombies-on-a-weekday-afternoon (an actual thing that they did and taped) and, as a result, are just really their crazy selves with little compromise.

Even in while recounting stories in tandem, which comprises most of their hysterical stand-up, they will frequently interrupt each other, call each other out at certain points, go from an act out to off on a tangent where Chris will just try to sit in an “improvised air chair” and fall over, and then go back into the story.  Every act of the Walsh Brothers show is something that’s thoroughly hilarious as it’s always ripe with rich detailed absurdity, amazing depth in character, and, of course, pranks, some of which they gloriously act out.  

One of my favorites is called “Personal Disco” where they kill the lights and have themselves and extremely random assortment of characters dance around one person to heavy techno music.   Though pranking the audience walks a fine line of alienating audience members, the Walsh Brothers handle every interaction with the audience with care in such a way that no one really feels unsafe in the way that a performance art piece does that no one can quite understand.  

Throughout the course of all this seemingly unbridled fun chaos, unknown to the audience, Chris and David have an amazing, in-the-moment, sense of what’s working and what’s not and if it’s not, how to go about cutting to the next story/sketch/character.  I’ve seen David dance for several minutes at the top of a show as it was getting big room laughs and then softly segue into the next bit as he sensed his marching wildly around the stage had run its course. They basically know how to show a crowd a damn fine show time and again.  

Though once called the “Pride of Boston” (their hometown) at a show here in LA, the Comedy Bureau is extremely glad that they’re based here as they perform their fantastic and, as one audience member shouted to me about it later, “mind blowing” show at UCB once a month and frequently at stages throughout Los Angeles.  So please check their website or Facebook page or Twitter feed or even back here at the Comedy Bureau for details on their next show or perhaps when Chris Walsh is literally “brushing my shoulders” off since I looked concerned/depressed at a bar (this really happened to me last Tuesday).