(Thrill or be Thrilled 10 – Host: Chad Weaver – Venue: Rialto Theatre, Akron, OH. – July 1, 2017)
“My Mother Munches Muff”
Chad Weaver comes out at 9:18 to begin the show. He explains that there were a number of last-minute crises to contend with before things were a “go.” The opening credits run.
“Where the Ducks Walk on Fish”
Jimmie Graham takes the stage, introducing himself as “Chad Weaver.” He punches through a fun set in which he talks about the 4th of July, BBQs, his sister, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony lyrics, and a popular tourist phenomenon in Linesville, PA in which the Spillway on the Pymatuning Reservoir becomes inundated with…er…fish. He not-so-fondly recalls being drug there by his father as a child. He closes his set with some slides of actual online reviews by people who have gone to the Spillway.
“And Then A Little Bit Of…”
The “real” Chad Weaver then performs a short set. He talks about being 21-years old, eating ice cream in the middle of the day, 9/11, a shitty temp job he once held, working at the public library, autism, heroin, getting his wisdom teeth removed and the first time he had sex.
Wernowsky opens by talking about visiting his father’s grave last week. Even though he is a proofreader for a living, he found it ironic to find three typos on his father’s grave. No one thought to have him look at it first.
The rest of his set consisted of him talking about his fear of spiders, his skepticism of grown men who claim they know karate, and his weight.
Weaver interrupts. Wernowsky must answer planted questions from audience members in a mock version of “Speed Dating.”
“Once You Go White, You Go Gay”
Jasmyn Carter opens by announcing that she was gay, but she isn’t gay any longer. Being “with” a white guy caused her initial change but “dick” brought her home.
She, too, had to deal with a round of impromptu “Speed Dating” questions. She was nimble with responses. When instructed to “propose” to a white audience member, she implored him to “help improve my credit score.”
Chad chose Wernowsky as the “loser” of the round. As punishment, he and Steve Guy (who normally appears in my columns by virtue of his other life as a professional wrestling ring announcer) performed a trumped up scene from the film Twister. Guy wore a wig and performed the female role. Wernowsky whipped off his shirt at one point. The two got big laughs.
Chad took the stage with drummer Ben Holland (of The Drawing Blanks) and a guitarist named Jeremiah to play a couple songs. Weaver played bass. Who knew that he is an old school song and dance man?
“Go To The Moon, Lance Bass”
Sumukh Torgalkar leads off by talking about the recent online phenomenon of “wedding hashtags.” At 32, he says that many of his friends who have married in the last few years are already divorced. Out of courtesy for the time and effort he, as a guest, put in their weddings, he thinks there ought to be a corresponding “divorce hashtags” to alert people of the split.
I’m just happy I can make my friends puke. -Chad Weaver
He continues with material about Peyton Manning’s commercials advertising for Papa John’s Pizza, HGH (Human Growth Hormone), Indian culture, issues related to having a difficult name to pronounce, and commercial trips to Mars.
Weaver interrupts and makes him put on a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey (JR Smith, #5) and then chug an energy drink for half a minute. I thought Torgalkar was going to barf near the end of the bit but he held it together.
“The Art Of Finger-Popping”
James Earl Brassfield is up next to…play the theremin? Brassfield announces that he went to Yale and is classically trained in playing the first electrical instrument. He goes on to perform first playing the traditional way and then using his mouth in what looked suspiciously like a simulation of oral sex. The audience was on the floor.
The 100.7 WMMS co-host zips through his time talking about line dancing on cocaine, not “matching” with his mother on Tinder, his sister being anorexic, Juggalos and a proposed name for a wig shop.
Steve Guy and Mike Strenk mercilessly kamikaze Squire. They suggestively dance around him while he finishes his set.
“The Zombie Boss Of Cleveland”
Brian Kenny plunges into a great bit about being high and watching movies like Hook, Curious George and 101 Dalmations. He then paints his vision of a zombie apocalypse in Cleveland.
The dancers are back to rattle Kenny…but he keeps his cool.
The band plays one final number.
“Smells Are Weird”
Mark Viola is batting cleanup for the night. He reminisces about his girlfriend giving him a “Dutch Oven,” “dollar-a-day” solutions for societal problems and women wanting to smell like food. He muses if there are fans of pornography who “like the book better than the movie.”
Steve Guy and Brian Kenny barge in and begin to pelt him with pillows while he attempts to wrap his performance.
Chad Weaver asks Steve Guy to remain on stage. He says that he knows that Guy is an ordained minister (which I believe ties in with this event). Weaver offers a free wedding giveaway to the audience. Within moments, “Cardboard Chad Weaver” and “Cardboard Dale Earnhardt, Jr.” appear asking to be joined in holy matrimony. Guy obliges. The show closes with a video of the cardboard newlyweds consummating the wedding.
Due to scheduling conflicts, this is the first “Thrill or be Thrilled” event that I have attended in a couple months. I would say that, on paper, this show was stacked with the most talent of any to date.
Jimmie Graham showed up with a terrific bit tonight. The stuff about his father dragging him to this horrible tourist attraction every year was personal and relatable. He put a bow on the whole thing by finding some hilarious real online comments about the event and incorporating them into his performance.
Jasmyn Carter has just enough of a chip on her shoulder to give her material real teeth. She is incredibly quick on her feet and always keeps her cool on stage.
Without actually saying much, James Earl Brassfield got a big reaction. He is a multifaceted comedian.
Brian Kenny is gold every time he picks up a microphone. He is stacked with charisma. His material is unique and remains memorable long after the show ends.
Kris Wiernowsky, Mike Viola and Sumukh Turgalkar are performers who are new to me, but I’m excited to see them again in the near-future. I found all three to be very funny and am intrigued to see what else they offer.
The Elephant In The Room
“Cardboard Chad Weaver” is clearly the real star of the entire ensemble. Despite being slightly hindered by existing in only two dimensions, he delivers every time on stage. It’d be best if “CCW” cuts his real-life counterpart loose sooner than later. It’s not fair that “Real Chad Weaver” continues to suckle the teat of “Cardboard Chad Weaver.” Show some dignity. There is always the library, dude.