officially entered the one stretch of the year in which the
average Portlander might actually go see a play. Whether
it's A Christmas Carol or the kid-friendly acrobatics of Do
Jump!, there's something old-timey and sentimental and
otherworldly about going to the theater during the
holidays—along the lines of eating chestnuts from a
paper cone, or pretending to care about homeless people.
And that's unfortunate, because I'll wager that the
concentration of terrible theater is higher during the
Christmas season than at any other time of year. An
antidote to all the "Yes, Virginia"-ing, though, can be
found at the 3rd Floor's annual holiday show, a dependable
injection of absurdity and vulgarity into an otherwise
saccharine season. This year's Weird Sandwich is a "holiday
show" in name and scheduling only—the sketch comedy
troupe has assembled another high-concept, lowbrow affair,
rife with dick jokes, shark costumes, and Battlestar
The 3rd Floor's shows always offer an overarching narrative that bridges seemingly unrelated sketches; here, a Sex and the City parody, prognostications from a foreboding old seaman with a "wooden back," and a series of unconvincing political ads all collide in the show's final moments. The troupe's strength is in their highly theatrical approach to comedy, which, when the jokes aren't firing, can leave a sketch feeling stodgy and staid—the pacing here drags some during the second half. They always pull it back on track, though, and their video work in particular has grown increasingly confident and sophisticated: A sketch about an unlucky loser who has Spock living in his shower is one of the highlights of the evening.
The 3rd Floor organizes the Best of the Best Sketch Fest every summer, and during the year they're in the habit of inviting exceptional touring acts to piggyback on their bill at the Miracle Theatre. It's a chance to see stellar shows that might not ordinarily play Portland, as anyone who saw last year's bizarre, cerebral, and hilarious Cody Rivers Show will attest. This time around, they've invited Chicago's Pajama Men and Seattle's Cory and Doug Show to perform select evenings; visit the3rdfloor.com for details.
matter what bizarre combination of Thanksgiving leftovers
you've eaten in the past few days, you can't have created
anything as strange and unholy as "Weird Sandwich," the
latest concoction from Portland sketch-comedy troupe, The
An elliptical romp through scenes about cosmo-swilling "werewomen," tragic paper-airplane crashes, killer squirrels, gubernatorial campaigns and other absurdities, the show doesn't really have a theme or story. But in place of coherent narrative, gags and characters loop through it in the equivalent of the clever internal rhyme schemes and linking references of a poem.
And somehow things keep coming around to the supernatural effects of a "Venetian Strong Ox" sandwich that can do anything from disrupt the space-time continuum to turn straight men gay.
structure's a little too loose at times, and a few too many
sketches end with a shrug. But the overall laugh-per-minute
average - and the actors' willingness to take on disgusting
yet howlingly funny bodily function gags - makes the show
another winner for the group.