The Funniest Show in the World...
This new show by the Bacher Brothers is occasionally inspired but self-indulgent.
The brothers, Danny and Josh Bacher, are talented and funny -- but only up to a point. They need to lop 30 minutes of dead wood from this 90-minute show; with judicious cuts, less self-indulgence, and a greater sense of pacing, it might really be hilarious. Almost every scene goes on too long. The opening bit in which Danny does a funny "Dawn of Man" dance on stage while brother Josh arrives as a noisy and disruptive audience member takes forever to unfold. Later, when this multimedia show brings us up to the early 20th Century, a screen comes down and we get an ersatz silent comedy, complete with a Keystone Kop. But once more, the movie is too long and ought to be ruthlessly edited to sustain its humor.
Lest we complain too much, what makes this show interesting is the clash of real intelligence with low comedy. The Bachers are smart; their best jokes and gags play off the genuine history of comedy, which gives the humor context and attitude. For instance, they have great fun making penis jokes when they send up the conventions of Restoration Comedy. In their previously mentioned silent movie, there is a pointed reference to Charlie Chaplin's classic feature, City Lights. They don't make a big deal about it; but if you know they're doing it, then the comedy resonates at a different level of appreciation.
Except for a genuine tour de force finale, their bits always devolve into low comedy, often with a slapstick appeal. One might think to compare them to Laurel & Hardy, but at this stage of their career they seem more The Two Stooges: Danny, the bossy one is, Moe Howard, and Josh, the sweet numbskull is Larry Fine. What they're missing is the energy and comic insanity of Curly Howard.
Discussing the Three Stooges might suggest that the Bacher Boys are putting on a family comedy. Not quite. Danny arrives through a huge vagina at the beginning, signifying the birth of comedy (the playful set is designed by Robert Monaco). However, all things considered, the show has a rather innocent appeal and none of the sex jokes are presented in a salacious manner. The costume design by Mama Jean is likewise innocent fun as the boys change their getups with the changing comic eras.