By Dwight Hobbes
My people, my people. October 27 at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theater, the audience of give or take 1,200 arrives in a veritable fashion show of styles ranging
from classy cool to tacky chic with most going for in-between, dressing sensibly smart. Everyone, though, is there for the same reason: to catch the third annual incarnation of the Royal Comedy Tour.
The evening of standup was, in a word, wack. You had Sommore, Mark Curry, Earthquake and Bruce Bruce on the bill in a truly bass-ackward lineup.
The strongest performer, Curry, spent the least amount of time, about a half hour, onstage. The second strongest, Sommore, was put to about the poorest use,
emceeing the show, starting off with a 15-minute set, popping back out between Curry and Earthquake for five minutes then, after the intermission, doing another quick five before Bruce Bruce closed the show. Earthquake got a little more time than Curry, and Bruce Bruce was on for a full 40 minutes.
Soon as the sublimely statuesque Sommore strutted to the mic in tight pants and a form-fitting top, things, as you’d expect, were off to a rousing start. She did, by the way, make a point of calling attention to the rearmost aspect of her physical endowment in characteristically ribald reverie. She also referred to similarly notable figures Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj, even New York Yankee C.C. Sabathia, in a routine that kept getting funnier and funnier.
Her material generally, in fact, was dead-on, which is why it was surprising to see her lean far too much on foul language. Not that she’s ever been the most ladylike of comics. That has by no means ever been her aesthetic. Her last time here, several years ago, she was raw, sure — but not at the expense of crackling wit. Belabored to the point of tedium, it began to detract. Especially when she was riffing as to how there is nothing under the sun that could keep her from voting to re-elect President Obama — she started out sharp then swiftly deteriorated into heavy-handed haranguing.
A hands-down, unequivocal highlight was Sommore sending up various girlfriends, including one who, when she comes by to pick her up to go clubbing, is chronically late, running on CPT.
Veteran ace Curry of television sitcom Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper fame showed how it’s done. With classic cool, he simply came out and did a set of grade-A comedy, comprised of topical comments, observation on human nature and tight timing. He borrowed a purse from a lady in the front row and turned it into several minutes of side-splitting hilarity. Then he borrowed someone else’s fur and did the same thing. The worst that can be said of Mark Curry’s half hour is that it was over way too soon.
For all that Sommore went a bit overboard on the blue language, neither Earthquake nor Bruce Bruce would’ve even had an act without it, plus a slew of gratuitous references to anatomy south of one’s belt buckle.
The Royal Comedy Tour would do much better as double bill of Mark Curry as king and Sommore as queen, leaving the boorish jesters Earthquake and Bruce Bruce off altogether.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.