5th Annual Holiday Comedy Revue at Fitger’s

Rubber Chicken Theater remixes 2012 in their comedy revue “A Flood of Christmas Cheer or What Seal Is This?” The venue this season is the Spirit of the North Theater in Fitger’s Complex, 600 East Superior St.  

Rubber Chicken performers, who write the show, deliver favorite holiday tunes with their own one-of-a-kind lyrics, Linda Bray on keys. “Fiscal Cliff” is sung to the tune “Silver Bells.” “What Seal is This?” is dedicated to the seals on the run from the Duluth Zoo during the June deluge. “Do You Smoke What I Smoke?” is the first of many pokes at the downtown Duluth emporium The Last Place on Earth.

A couple other themes permeate the show: Gregnam-style dance and Donny Ness’s popularity polls. Performer Greg Anderson reverses the motions of Korean pop star Psy’s Gangnam-style dance, calling his invention “Gregnam-style.” It catches on across the entire city.

There are a multitude of slapstick sketches. Barbie and Ken (Minden Hultstrom and Nathan St. Germain) exchange gifts. When Ken moans that if his head is tilted, it pops off and that his undergarments are molded plastic, Barbie invites him over to see what other parts might pop off.

There’s the Island Resort for misfit politicians. Among the residents are graphics-prone Ross Perot (Cathy Podeczwa, recent addition to the Holiday Revue cast) and Governors Romney and Schwarzenegger.  

The upcoming Barely There Season at The Playshack shows that Rubber Chicken actors are not afraid of the buff. Hamlet’s naked Scot (Anderson) wears only a skull codpiece. Both Taylor Martin-Romme and St. Germaine are equally shameless as underclad performers in Godspell and The Sound of Music.       

At intermission, a small bar is set up for beverage purchases. Director Brian Matuszak is sure his troop is funnier after a few drinks, though I found the second half consistently rib-tickling after nary a drop.

A side-splitting video shows city councilors Sharla Gardner and Emily Larson and a slew of TV personalities including Greg Grell and Pat Kelly all dancing Gregnam-style. Choreographer Podeszwa makes Balanchine blush and Duluth’s media icons into Baryshnikovs.

Hultstrom cracked me up all night. In a skit where she pronounces not one word, she’s a hoot. Likewise when she’s sitting at a table, “logically” sorting out Skittles: “They can mingle in the box, but once out, they must obey the rules.”
In a really cute vignette, four actors portray little children. Hultstrom delivers the line “It’s my favorite” over and over, and keeps us laughing. Likewise Greg Anderson with “It’s part of nature.”

Spoofs on Mayor Don Ness’s approval ratings keep cropping up. The numbers go from 70 to 80 percent, or is it 101 percent when he trips on a turtle? And Mayor Ness is not averse to Gregnam style. He, too, can pas de un with the best. The 89 percent mayor hires two falcons nesting on Greysolon to monitor what’s going on across the street at Last Place. Is that city administrator David Montgomery or attorney Gunnar Johnson getting the $1000 suck-up ticket?

The sketch with a family Skyping holiday greetings to grandpa is priceless. Baby (St. Germain with an ingenious puppet baby body) is “held” by Mama Hultstrom. She’s smoking like a chimney, but when baby blurts out “butt,” Mama rails, “It’s a gateway word.”   

Other comic scenes: “regifters” and “indeciders” holding up the checkout lines at Target with Batman Germain doing security; Martin-Romme showing up hot, shirtless, and dripping at an ugly sweater contest; the WLSSD Christmas Party Gregnam style.

Complex is the correct word for this year’s location. Paths to the third-floor theater vary according to the parking lot level you enter from. Best advice, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the location, is to arrive far enough ahead of the 7 p.m. showtime. You must find the elevators towards the middle of the building to get there.

Parking presents its own dilemma if the Fitger’s lot is full. I lucked out, finding a metered spot in front of the Pickwick Restaurant next door. Meters there retire at 5:30 p.m., and I entered through the Fitger’s front door, the most direct route to the elevators up to the Spirit of the North.

“A Flood of Christmas Cheer” plays Thursdays and Fridays, December 21, 22, 28, and 29, with a New Year’s Eve Gala on Monday, December 31. Better get in on Duluth’s 2012 shenanigans before it’s too late.