for the New Depression
we’re on this plane with a lobster, and the lobster falls
off the plane and the plane spins,” says Pat Ferri, attempting
to explain one of the scenes in his upcoming show Comedy
for the New Depression. “I fall through the wing and
the propeller falls off and we have to try and get the thing
started . . .”
Ferri, an acrobat from Austerlitz, is one half of physical-comedy
team Those Two Guys, along with Dave Cox, a juggler and
equilibrist from Troy. After almost 20 years of busking
and performing their individual slapstick routines at street
fairs, theater festivals and on late-night TV, the two finally
took an audience member’s suggestion to do a show in tandem.
like silent film but without the ‘silent’ and without the
‘film,’” says Ferri. “No jokes. All gags. In most of the
bits you see the guys thinking. You don’t always see that
in stand-up or in theater, but you always see it in silent
films.” Ferri’s idol has always been Buster Keaton, the
stone-faced silent-film star, but he says the show with
Cox has a lot more to do with the work of Laurel and Hardy,
or thrill comic Harold Lloyd, who was known for his cringe-inducing
building-climbing and girder-walking stunts. “These guys
are always trying to do the right thing, but their thinking
a bit where we’re out a window, changing a lightbulb,” Ferri
says, describing another cartoony gag. “He’s hanging on
to my belt, so when I fall out the window, he falls out
the window. We end up putting a big plank on a sawhorse,
but need to counterbalance and the sawhorse collapses. .
The show is broken into four scenes of physical theatrics,
punctuated by music, voiceovers and the duo’s athletic pratfalls.
Like a film, there is a narrative arc, but the fun comes
in watching the two make mistake after mistake as they attempt
to navigate the task at hand in each vignette. It’s a brand
of nonverbal theater that has remained popular to a degree
in Europe but that most Americans associate with the ’20s
Hence the title Comedy for the New Depression. “I
coined that phrase for my own stuff about two years ago,”
he says, right when the American economy started to nosedive.
The hope, it seems, is that this vintage brand of entertainment
will help alleviate some of the stress of our current economic
situation the same way it did nearly a century ago. “I think
the last depression wasn’t so bad,” Ferri continues. “I
think we could use a good one to let people know they’re
neighbors again. The Greatest Generation came out of that.
Instead of all this me-me-me, people are going to get together
and help one another again.” At the very least, watching
two guys bumble their way through absurd scenarios, laughing
everytime they get hurt, should provide some much-needed
Those Two Guys will perform Comedy for the New Depression
on Saturday (Dec. 11) at 7 PM at the Linda (339 Central
Ave., Albany). Greg Aidala will serve as host. Tickets are
$20, $15 for students and $12 for kids 12 and under. Call
465-5233 ext. 4. for tickets and more information.
Wainright has followed his muse pretty much wherever it
has led him, which has resulted in an astonishingly diverse
and rewarding body of work—and has also, necessarily, divided
both his fans and the critics. He comes to the Egg tonight
in the wake of his latest album, the ambitious, controversial
piano-and-voice song cycle All Days Are Nights: Songs
first part of the evening will be songs from this work,
which, in part, reflects the difficult period of his mother’s
(Kate McGarrigle) illness and death. The Vancouver Sun
described this part of a recent performance as featuring
“strong, devastatingly sad mood pieces, expertly played
and sung. . . .” The second part of the show will feature
songs from his earlier albums.
His half-sister, Lucy Wainwright Roche, will open. (FYI:
Her mom, Suzzy Roche, was just in town for the Roches’
Christmas show.) She just released her first full-length
album, Lucy, and you can expect to hear a healthy
selection of tunes from it.
Rufus Wainwright will perform tonight (Thursday, Dec. 9)
at 7:30 PM at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Tickets
are $39.50 and $34.50. For more info, call 473-1845.