By Merle Exit
From cave men telling rock-rock jokes to comedian Chris Rock and everything in between, the Reduced Shakespeare Company will leave no gag untold while de-constructing “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)” in just 90 rollicking minutes at Queens Theatre. Reed Martin is one of the managing partners of the RSC as well as a longtime actor. The company is a three-man comedy group.
“We are known for taking long, often boring and tedious subjects and turning them into short, sharp comedies,” said Martin. “Our first show was the ‘Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged),’ which toured all over the world. Since then we’ve gone on to the reduced history, the Bible, literature, holidays, and Hollywood movies.”
“The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)” is their latest production.
“They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, they’ll kiss good money goodbye,” Martin remarked.
Although this is not their first time in New York, it is their first performance in Queens as well as the New York premiere of this show.
“In doing research we found that a Roman emperor invented the whoopie cushion. We traced the history of ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ from Shakespeare’s version, ‘To cross, or not to cross; that is the question,’ to the modern version of ‘Let’s cross the road. We can’t. Why not? We’re waiting for the chicken.’”
Martin described the show, written and directed by himself and Austin Tichenor, as being the style of new vaudeville.
“It’s smart, it’s stupid, it’s physical, verbal, intellectual and very fast moving,” he said. “The show had its most recent performance at the Edinburgh Festival and was a smash hit”
And Martin acknowledges that sometimes when he is performing the audience has a habit of being quiet, and he often believes that means the show is not working. That is until after the final curtain.
“You go out to the lobby and they say, ‘that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve never laughed so hard.’” he said. “I think, Really? I guess you cannot hear a smile. “
If you Go
“The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)”
When: Saturday, Oct. 25, at 2 pm and 8 pm; and Sunday, Oct. 26, at 3pm
Where: Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Cost: $25 – $35
Contact: (718) 760-0064