The pursuit of comic gold

As we edge toward December, some Philadelphians are thinking about what was so funny about 2010. The popular holiday theater revue “This Is The Week That Is” is comedy ripped from today’s headlines. But this year the troupe is in a funk.

The writers at 1812 Productions admit that they avoided thinking about current events for at least part of the past year.

Director Jennifer Childs made a list of predominant news items every month in 2010:

“Earthquake, earthquake, earthquake, oil spill, earthquake, earthquake, earthquake, miners, earthquake, earthquake, earthquake, oil spill, oil spill, oil spill, health care,” she counted off.

Childs can’t make an earthquake funny. But repeat that list 10 times, fast. It starts to take on the rhythm of a train. That’s where the funny comes in: Childs uses the onslaught of bad news in a sketch based on the “Rock Island” train song from the musical “The Music Man.”

The liberal-leaning theatrical troupe takes shots at the tea party (think Alice In Wonderland) and President Obama (they put him in an anger-management workshop with the hope that he will emerge more angry).

How do they turn election shellacking into something funny? They look back to to old-school political humorists like Tom Lehrer and the Smothers Brothers.

“The numbers that Tom Leher wrote about, ‘So Long, Mom (I’m Going To Drop The Bomb)’ and ‘We Will All Go Together When We Go’,” said Childs, an admitted comedy history nerd. “That’s there as inspiration for us. That’s how you make that funny.”

The show opens Dec. 2 and runs through Jan. 7 at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey St.; 

(215) 592-9560 or www.1812productions.org

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