LAUREN WEEDMAN is so good that you begin to give yourself credit for noticing the intricate vagaries of her characters, as if, somehow, her people were your own private creations. It's what makes any performer great -- an abandon of such skill and generosity that, for an audience, it feels personal. Weedman's complete surrender recalls the late Gilda Radner at times, or any other number of talented women who give that extra inch in the name of unflinchingly honest comic observation. When she rolls around on the floor with a megaphone, contorting her body in the uproariously bizarre configurations of a funky Dutch performance artist, you howl, but it seems vaguely recognizable. In Amsterdam, the most expansive yet of her gloriously funny solo performances, Lauren Weedman gets down to the cringing, kitschy business of being human, and makes you wonder why everything so foreign can seem so damn familiar.

Our main guide through the evening is Dani, a befuddled young American woman. Though it's tempting to call her Weedman's alter ego, it's quite likely that -- based on the complete zeal with which they come to life -- the performer is also secretly any one of the people Dani encounters on the evening's journey. Lost on some kind of search for herself, Dani ends up charmed by Hans (who teaches Dutch night courses in Indiana), and even more lost when she misguidedly follows him to Amsterdam. Her adventures are bookended by Beppi and the Boys, the abovementioned performance artist and band (played by musicians James Palmer -- who also composed the clever, lively music to this show -- and Ron Carnell). Encountering a despondent Dani after a show in a Dutch club, Beppi (whose work resembles a devastating European blend of Mick Jagger and Jerry Lewis) gets her to open up about her experiences, kindly pointing out Ron, the perpetually stoned American in the band: "Guess why Ron came here. I give you a big hint -- not for the cheese. And Jamaica was too hot."

Comedy, as someone once said, is not pretty, and Weedman's virtuosity allows for some of the homeliest laughs to ever split your side. One of the show's most amusing moments has Dani discovering that she's had her period, post-coital, on the beloved sheets of Hans' childhood (he's prone to such weepy, unusual sentiment). Her lover's reaction is twice as funny as you think it's going to be, and Weedman keeps lobbing similar curve balls at you the entire evening; she's tossing things off here that are funnier than the supposed big jokes of most mainstream comedies. Rich, the smug, hearty cheerleader of the creepy Dolphin Experience Seminar that sends Dani fleeing to Dutch classes, is prone to schmoozing his students with inane, random familiarity, chatting up one pupil with the after-school promise, "You got that go-cart goin'? I'll be there." It's a sneaky, perfectly shameless detail like "go-cart" that reveals the larger picture of both the speaker and his student, as well as Weedman's unceasing ability to hit whatever small target will reap the greatest reward.

Palmer's music is a great addition toward that goal, providing apt ornamentation to Weedman's tiny revelations. A scene in which Dani teaches a joyful Hans how to drive is underscored with an incessant beat, and keeps hysterically threatening to turn into a roaring rock number, alternating between Dani's spoken paranoia and her lover's bouncing, exuberant, tuneful proclamations of freedom. The result is enormously infectious, and the score also includes such confections as the mock pop aria that Palmer and Weedman have given to Dani's haranguing mother: "You don't finish your thoughts/To understand you takes energy/Lots and lots."

Directors Eddie Levi Lee and Shawn Belyea keep Weedman comfortably moving all across the stage without calling attention to it, and have a clear understanding of what it is that makes the performer so special. There are no distracting flourishes to the enjoyment, and both men work to heighten the little pleasures. I suppose the creative trio could have prodded the material with a grander throughline that would link the remarkable tangents and offshoots to an overriding purpose, but ultimately the tangents are the purpose. Amsterdam is an evocation of an experience -- everyone can recognize the sort of overreaching self-discovery that Weedman is so perfectly skewering -- and a celebration of the innate, supremely unavoidable cheesiness of human nature.