Just for Laughs 2013: Second City Alumni review
Scott Adsit, Kevin Dorff, T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi improvise at Just for Laughs.
It was hard not to be a little let down when Scott Adsit, Kevin Dorff, T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi took to the UP Comedy Club stage sans the originally promised Jon Glaser. At last year's Just for Laughs festival, the fivesome performed an unforgettable evening of improv in which Glaser's unique talents continuously stole the show. But there's a significant amount of talent in this comedy quartet and any disappointment over the altered lineup was washed away by the first round of laughs.
The first act's scenes spent time in swampy Florida, including a quest to hunt alligators in which Dorff rejected an elaborately mimed large gun in favor of some good old-fashioned "rasseling." The action was interrupted by a large boom of thunder from outside, to which Adsit responded, "Gator's got guns!"
The second act began in a yoga studio with Pasquesi demonstrating an impressive ability to balance on his hands for an extended amount of time. The activity moved to a health food restaurant, which offered plenty of laughs, included Jagodowski's boast of the food quality: "They serve all their salads live."
The most memorable scene of the evening involved Adsit thrusting his arm between Jagodowski's legs to portray an overly expressive erection. This culminated in a fight with Dorff in which the "cock [with an] attitude" flipped him the bird and then strong-armed him through Jagodowski's open legs.
The one weakness was time. Each half of the performance seemed only slightly longer than the intermission. Last year the team presented a collection of scenes that built intensity, with a cast of characters that would gradually intersect one another's worlds. Tonight's presentation didn't have that freedom. Aside from a few clever callbacks, the show's potential felt guided by the abrupt act breaks rather than the creativity of the performers.