I’ve always hated people who say women aren’t funny, partly because I have so few examples to prove them wrong. Sure there are some classics like Lucille Ball, and my generation loves Tina Fey, but it’s always easier to list off funny men than funny women. That’s part of the reason why I am so in love with Amber Ruffin and Lauren Van Kurin’s NYC Fringe Show, King of Kong.
The subject matter is bizarre, but absolutely wonderful; Billy Mitchell has it all – hot wife, hot hair, hot sauce company. But the jewel in his crown (and he DOES own an actual crown) is his Donkey Kong high score. Steve Weibe, on the other hand, is a total loser. He has a kid who can’t wipe his own ass and a wife who is distant and uninterested. The only thing he is good at is Donkey Kong and so he sets off determined to beat Billy’s high score.
The entire show is performed by the two women who make lightning-fast quick changes and even take turns playing one of the same characters (don’t worry, the referee shirt keeps things clear).Their ability to convincingly play men is to be envied, and the ease with which they change characters reminded me of what I recently saw Jefferson Mays do in Gentleman’s Guide. Even the lighting was strong, and helped to establish settings that were created with absolutely no set and very minimal props. I can’t neglect to mention their singing either, which was quite good, though it is the writing itself that is truly the heart of the show.
Both Ruffin and Van Kurin are equally talented women, and their chemistry onstage can’t be denied. When it comes to favourite characters, however, I’ll have to go with Billy Mitchell – I hope to see him on SNL one day.
While it’s not something usually mentioned in a review, I’ve got to throw this out there; these are really, really nice ladies. We met them a week or so ago after a teaser night and they were so friendly and funny we liked them right away. I’ve met quite a few people out here in NYC and most you talk to once and that’s it, which is fine. But we’ve been lucky enough to keep running into Amber and Lauren and every time they are just as delightful. They even gave us a shout-out at the end of their performance! So if what you’ve heard about the show isn’t enough to make you want to go (you crazy) then go and support some of the nicest, most talented women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. You can still catch their last two performances; Sunday August 17 at 6:00pm and Tuesday August 19 and 9:15pm at the Players Theatre, venue 17, 115 Macdougal St.
I’ll leave you with one of my personal favourites from the show;
“Failure is just a success you failed to succeed at.”