FACEBOOK OF REVELATIONS written and performed by Marty Adams, Jim Annan, Lauren Ash, Darryl Hinds, Scott Montgomery and Karen Parker, directed by Bruce Pirrie. Presented by Second City (51 Mercer). Opens tonight (Thursday, July 19) for a limited run, Tuesday-Sunday 8 pm, late show Saturday 10:30 pm. $20-$28. 416-343-0011. Rating: NNNNN
You can't judge a second city show by its title. But a well-chosen, clever moniker sure helps capture the zeitgeist and place a comedy revue in a specific cultural context.
"I think a title has to catch your imagination. It's got to be punchy and appropriate," says troupe member Scott Montgomery. "Everyone laughs about the titles that no one's used, and my favourite is Seven Brides For Scatman Crothers. But was that ever really appropriate?"
It's hard to imagine a more appropriate title than Facebook Of Revelations, the company's 60th show. Pretty much everyone under 35 is on the online social networking site, and paranoia about cyber-privacy is as high as Bill Gates's net worth.
"I like the suggestion of the end-of-time mentality," says Montgomery about the name, the idea of the show's assistant director, Daniel Shehori. "In a way that title asks, "What do you do when you're faced with what seems like a pretty bleak outlook?' As we answer in the show, you find people you love and you love them. Although that sounds so cheesy."
Awww. It's true. One of the throughlines of the latest show is the search for amour.
"There are a lot of relationship scenes people who meet others for the first time," says Marty Adams, one of the three new members in the Second City mainstage cast (the others are Darryl Hinds and Karen Parker). "There's even a scene between a couple of robots that's full of pathos."
Rumour has it that one of the show's funniest sketches deals with technology of another sort. Adams and Montgomery play contrasting hosts of a cable TV talk show.
"We field "calls' from the live audience and try to solve problems and discuss news of the day, movies, what we ate that day," says Montgomery. "It's held together by the thinnest of conceits, and at times it feels like it's going to fly apart at any minute, which makes it fun. It gives you a chance to be topical but in a really reductive way. The two characters take the news and render it utterly meaningless by reducing it to its barest elements."
But don't look for much in-your-face political humour from the Toronto cast. Unlike their U.S. counterparts, especially those in Chicago, T.O.'s Second Cityites don't go for blatant political sketches.
"I think the political mood in the States is a little less confused," says Montgomery. "The people who are going to Second City shows in a place like Chicago are pretty much left-wing.
"Here, you don't know who's going to be seeing the show. I think we have to be a little more subtle about politics. And let's face it, we're more politically confused. Bush is such an obviously bad president that he's a good target. I'm not a big fan of Stephen Harper he's about as bad as can be but he's quietly bad. His badness seems to elude people at times."
Montgomery does point out an Afghanistan joke that creeps into a sketch. Adams, who's also in the scene, laughs.
"We lead the audience down a certain path and then we surprise them," he says. "Response so far in previews has been incredible."
Additional Interview Audio Clips
Adams and Montgomery on their comedy stage personae:
Adams and Montgomery on a performer's size and physical comedy:
Adams and Montgomery on the reality show Second City's Next Comedy Legend: