Nick and Corey Tell Some Stories: Short Plays, Tall Laughs

A Bottoms Up Theater Production
Reviewed by Keith Waits.

Entire contents copyright © 2013, Keith Waits, all rights reserved.

If you are looking for laughs in the local theatre scene, the improvisational scene is alive and well: The Louisville Improvisors, Damaged Goods, and Derby City Dating Scene are active, and late nights at The Alley Theater, while not strictly improv, rely heavily on that same spirit.

Nick Potter and Corey Music are doing something a little different. This show, under the banner of their company Bottoms UpTheater, is scripted material that picks up a tradition seldom seen in today’s popular culture: the comedy team. Think Martin & Lewis or Abbott & Costello. Two performers portraying characters that are likely based to some degree upon themselves, using their actual names, but that are fictional alter egos allowed to indulge in behavior that would get normal people arrested. The comparison is more apt when one considers that most of their work consists of increasingly polished comedy videos that can be found on the Bottoms Up you tube channel and which have recently developed to a level of quality that would be welcome on the acclaimed Funny or Die website
The Overly Helpful Bathroom Attendantis a particular favorite of mine).

This live version, which has been in the works for more than a year, having been delayed from an earlier date in July 2012, is slightly uneven but mostly successful at finding the laughs. The material seems somewhat less pointed and direct in its satire than the video work, although there was some nice commentary on ongoing cultural obsessions with chic vampires and zombie paranoia, and a zany and suitably overly complex meditation on time-travel paradox. It is a potent mix of sketches of varying lengths, some qualifying as short plays and some as brief and unexpected one-off jokes.

The best material is constructed around a provocative idea or notion, which is then used not only to build comedic effect but also to define the Nick and Corey personalities and how their unique dynamic would play out in a particular circumstance, such as Nick and Corey Are Homeless, or Nick and Corey At A Restaurant (yes, each bit is titled thusly). The latter piece is particularly sharp in its conflict, showing Nick being a total d**k when being waited on by his best friend, Corey. Nick is typically a near sociopath who thinks little of getting the more innocent Corey fired or roping him  into robbing a bank with no warning. Yet whatever the consequences, the friendship always survives.
Perhaps the two characters might be better defined and contrasted against one another; as it is, they often seem too much alike in their personalities, and their finish-each-others-sentence patter reinforces the similarity. If that is the desired effect, they have achieved it; but the most memorable material features that conflict and contrast and has resonance as a result. They also probably say “dude” way too often. Even for slacker characters such as these, it wore out its welcome.

The level of performance is high energy and fast-paced, with strong and reliable support from four members of the Bottoms Up company: David Miller, Patrick Bayne, Colby Ballowe (who wrote one very thoughtful piece entitled, of course, Nick and Corey Did Not Write This) and Kate Holland, who opened the evening with a charming theme song.

Nick and Corey Tell Some Stories: Short Plays, Tall Laughs

January 17-20, 24- 26

The Bard’s Town Theatre

1801 Bardstown Road

Louisville, KY 40205