Though they confess to skewing more towards the experiences of 20-somethings, creators Becky Ablack and Zoe Marin—calling themselves Small Friend Tall Friend—had no problems getting through my middle-aged shell. Where sketch comedy is concerned, I tend to be a tough nut to crack and often find myself enthusiastic yet wary of the form.
Do You Think You’re Better Than Me? did, for the most part, hit me where it needed to. Their opening in particular, where they introduce themselves and worry the audience applauded just slightly more for the dudes in the troupe. This leads into a song about just how inherently fuckable we consider male comics to be; whereas “funny ladies” might just be the “most oppressed group.”
They have knack for cheeky overstatement, commenting on irksome social phenomena while simultaneously indulging in self-aware rhetoric.
A quick glimpse at how “CBC and Chill” might be kind of a downer is cute. Overall, though, I was less amused by their more random, what if sketches. It’s in their takes on identity politics and relevant pop culture landmines where they really shine.
An Oscar-winner getting drowned out whenever she tries to address any serious topic is hilariously pointed. I also loved the clueless, Twinky yoga guru white-splaining to his “ethnic” clients with his culturally fetishizing pseudo-knowledge.
Most of their sketches have insightful, relatable moments; some tickled me more than others. Generally, they could be more tight and punchy. Specifically, there aren’t a lot of really satisfying buttons, with some sketches hitting a high note then ending kinda flat.
Their songs, though, are consistently catchy and clever. I’m particularly fond of a number dedicated to the myriad things that can go wrong with women’s bodies and how Googling your symptoms is probably not the best choice. Another highlight was their spot-on calling-out of sci-fi movies as oppression cosplay for white folks.
Marin and Ablack are really on to something. They have good chemistry with their ensemble—Stephanie Perri, David Civcic and Rayhan Jabbar—though I don’t think they were always in the roles that played to their strengths.