Review of the Habit Comedy Troupe at Bathhouse Theater
The Habit is selling out the little lakeside Bathhouse Theater, and with good reason. The local comedy troupe—John Osebold, Mark Siano, Jeff Schell, David Swidler, and Luke Thayer—presents an hour-long sketch-comedy show that exceeds even now-high expectations after a ton of preview press. The writing is superb. For example, a hypnotist (Schell) interrupts a guided visualization about floating on a boat in a calm sea to shout that pirates have attacked and killed your whole family, then slips back into his excellent rendition of that stereotypical hypnotist drone to say that you're still calm, though "your family is still dead, their teeth are being worn around a pirate's neck as a trophy to your negligence." The show is delightfully themeless and sometimes dark—the main motifs are face-eating rats, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" (it plays on repeat before the show), and a purposefully stupid joke about Coke Zero they keep telling over and over again. But it's their commitment to the absurd that is so winning—"Who's on First" done with real baseball players' names or James Bond explaining a Marmaduke cartoon. They're clearly playing partly to entertain themselves and each other, and the camaraderie comes through in an explosion of charm.