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'The Dunce' Has A Lot Of Moving Parts

By Allison Kelley in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 15, 2014 9:45PM

2014_08_TheDunce.JPG New stand-up series, The Dunce has a lot of moving parts. Despite the name, the show strives for full class participation, not alienation. Premiering last night at the newly relocated and gorgeous Annoyance Theater on Clark, the show is themed, showcases 5 veteran performers, and has 3 open mic slots. Last night's show was all comics but the description on the Annoyance site says, music, sketch, improv, and puppetry could all potentially show up in future shows. Non-performing audience members are encouraged to participate by submitting a joke, based on the night’s theme, into a bucket. At the end of the night the performer designated “the dunce” dons the cap and reads the bucket jokes.

Last night’s show was hosted by comic Jason Earl Folks, who produces the show with fellow comics Drennen Quinn, Shannon Noll and Christopher Condren. Performances kicked off with featured comic Nigel Ng explaining what it’s like to be from Malaysia, where he emigrated from 4 years ago. “People know Malaysia from the plane,” Ng deadpanned, “or they know it from Zoolander…honestly I’d rather be known for the plane.” Open mic-er Sarah Albrecht shared her love of 90s kid programming and how she’s still waiting for Nickelodeon to take over her school.

Featured comic Cameron Gillette delivered an absurd act complete with props. “What did the butt say to the boobs?” Gillette asked the crowd. Struggling to produce the punch line, Gillette admitted that he didn’t actually have a line to complete the “awesome” premise. Then he talked about time travel and revealed that he had gone into the future, discovered the punch line, and written it on a piece of paper under a seat. When he asked an audience member to look under their seat, a folded piece of paper was found. Gillette slowly opened the paper and turned it facing the audience. “Everyone in the future is dead,” the paper read.

At the end of the night the cowboys theme was front and center. Featured comic, Natalie Jose was chosen by an audience member to be the night’s dunce. This distinction was arbitrary as the audience was not told to choose the best or the worst comic, or any other superlative, to wear the cap. They simply had to pick someone to read their submitted jokes. This felt like a missed opportunity to raise the stakes and really make the name of the show payoff. The Dunce is a cool sounding name but it didn’t have much relevance to the show as a whole. Closing out, Jose, in a neon paper cap, read as many of the terrible cowboy themed jokes she could fit into a minute.

The Dunce is free and starts at 10 pm. It runs every Thursday until October 2 in the Annoyance’s small theatre venue.