Miss the old "Saturday Night Live" episodes from the '80s? Back when humor was spontaneous, and you could feel those peals of laughter gushing out of your chest? Don't fret--you can satisfy that sketch comedy craving by heading out to the St. Marks Theater Saturday nights at 10:30 to catch the five-member troupe Ralph presenting their Grapes of Ralph.
You're definitely going to be wondering what all the Vanilla Ice posters are doing around the front door, but believe me, there is a humorous purpose. I suggest you show up a little early because Ralph sports a loyal following, undeterred by bad weather, who fill in the space cozily while blues and rock 'n' roll music set the atmosphere.
Then Ralph takes the stage, posing the question: Why can't comedians do "covers" like bands do? Then you witness each member's transformation into a never-ending adrenaline bag. Ralph makes you laugh without a stitch of guilt at subjects you'd normally be ashamed of giggling at. For instance, Ralph declares that they will make you laugh at the death of an elderly woman--and they accomplish the feat hilariously.
During the performance I attended, Lou Bega's "Mambo #5" drives a woman insane, a clown gains popularity for flatulating in children's faces, and a cinema ticket taker is shocked by absurd movie titles such as the riveting "I Think About You When I Masturbate!" which is playing across the street. Each piece continues a crescendo of outrageousness without missing a beat.
The five performers of Ralph up the ante from skit to skit, maintaining an astounding fluidity, changing characters at the drop of a dime, and never slacking the relentless pace. With new material from week to week (until April 15), anything and everything is fair game for Ralph's bite.