Pajama Men in Stop Not Going written and performed by Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez. Through February 26, Wednesday-Friday 9 pm, Saturday 10:30 pm. $20, stu $10. Tim Sims Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way). 416-343-0011. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Pajama men, the sketch duo for merly known as Sabotage, are like the Muppets on hallucinogens. Maybe if the audience were taking whatever they're taking, their show would make more sense.
Not that sense is what they're after.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico, duo are best known for their work at Fringe festivals, where short attention spans rule. They love stepping out of a scene, coming back to it, going to another and another, and then commenting on what they're doing like those two old guys in the Muppets.
All that's missing is a cymbal crash.
Problem is, you've got to establish a pretty firm structure before you begin knocking something down. If you don't, you risk becoming precious. Or worse, pedantic teachers at the We're So Smart If You Don't Laugh You're Not Smart Like Us school of comedy.
Which is too bad, because Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez are talented performers. They're both adept at accents - especially Allen, who specializes in kids and Southern belle types - and they've got a spontaneity together that often makes it seem like they're improvising.
In their show Stop Not Going , they're best at pointing out little absurdities: the weirdness of the game Rock, Paper, Scissors, for instance, or the inanity of two cowboys comparing tattoos.
But surreal humour takes you only so far and for so long. Too much and it tires you out, especially after an hour-long opening act. When Pajama Men, who perform in actual pyjamas, mimic a little girl with superpowers or compare what's "gross" and "not gross," or deliver an easy laugh about a man's dying words - all without any discernible thematic link - the audience conks out with info overload.
By the way, the opening acts are some of the city's best, including the Rumoli Brothers , Knock Knock. (Who's There?) Comedy! and the Burnt Marshmallows .