The Ladies of Laughter presented five of their past contest winners with Kevin Meaney as headliner and host to precede the final round of their search for a non-traditional opening act at The Cutting Room last month.
The roster of former champions featured Robin Fox, Patty Rosborough, Leighann Lord, Regina DeCicco and Jane Condon. As a unit, the Ladies were enjoyable, sometimes infringing on the same subject matter but always in their own style, frequently with a unique angle. Fox, Condon and Rosborough all touched on the angst of suburban life, sure to reverberate with anyone who has ever associated with a PTA. Condon devised a Dub Step Mom character who can communicate with her generationally estranged children by fashioning sentences like “Will you, will you, wubwubwub, please, wubwubwub, come down to eat?”
Rosborough, a confident and assertive presence, is clearly a veteran. Her bit about a familiar voice making an appearance in the bedroom fiercely lowered every male’s opinion of their own sexual prowess. DeCicco had a good Cartman impression and delivered one of those unfair but hilarious bits that brings her body image into question and makes the audience feel as if it was their idea. Lord had some viable options for gender issues in the Middle East.
Meaney, who traversed comedy’s most dignified stages after his 1986 HBO special rocketed him to the forefront, had no trouble taking the lead in the less than full room, and he made it evident where he’s been and why. His proclivity to embark on and erratically alter show tunes is a gold factory, and his energetic presence reemerged between sets to shout something undeniably charming, like a manic and panicked announcement that “the kids are on the Molly,” and how his current workout plan involves an early morning cigarette and a tab of acid. The host varied the show well and served as, startlingly, only the second most peculiar act of the evening.
He was to be outdone by the four finalists vying for an opening act on the ongoing Funny and Fabulous tour. It became apparent quickly that the road to this final showdown must not have been very long, as an inspired but mistake-ridden juggling act opened the proceedings. Two severely amateur impressionists jump-cut from one lackluster approach to another. Against all of a sudden towering odds, the final contestant was funny! Vaudeville variety act Niki Luparelli earned the honor with quirky cover songs and a never ending procession of items pulled from her brassiere.
“We have great straight standup on our roster already. I wanted something more variety-based, musical, impressions — just something that we already don’t have,” said Peggy Boyce, who held the first Ladies of Laughter contest in an unairconditioned YWCA in 1998 and helped found the “Mary Jo Comedy Awards” before that. The show at The Cutting Room also served as a benefit for ailing comedian Jodi Weiner.
Ladies of Laughter, since that YWCA in 1998, has received sponsorship from Bud Light and even put on a show at The Garden. “I just want to keep moving forward,” Boyce said of LOL. “Keep growing it and have it continue to be a fun and safe haven for women in comedy.” Tickets for the Funny and Fabulous tour are available now at ladiesoflaughter.org.