Opposing Players

Critical Clash

This Hour is interminable

On any given night on Princess Street, should you witness a bunch of sloppy drunk people unabashedly making fools of themselves, you would likely choose to walk away with a sour look on your face.

That considered, it seems odd that whenever the Queen’s Players move the idiocy into Clark Hall Pub, give it a snappy title and charge $5 to get in, they expect people to be awestruck with the sheer hilarity of it all.

The Players’ latest offering, This Hour Has 9 1/2 Weeks, which ran for four nights at the beginning of June, offered the standard Players formula: get a bunch of overtly ‘outrageous’ personalities, booze them up, and let them loose on stage.

The show’s various sketches ranged from gleeful displays of sophomoric humour—designed to propel the word ‘dick’ to new heights of inanity—to weak, hackneyed parodies of popular television programs.

Of course, as the evening progressed, the participants got increasingly liquored, and the show acquired the special ability to make its audience feel completely embarrassed—something only the most finely tuned displays of self-abasement can muster.

The show’s sole highlight was the musical accompaniment provided by the backing band, who admirably held the cast’s uneven vocal performances in check enough to make them tolerable. A version of Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light,’ sung by Chris Bond and vocal standout Kendall Diebohld, proved almost enjoyable thanks to the buoyant drummer and musical director Paul Kugelmass’ deft keyboard hands.

In the end, only the cast seemed amused by the evening’s proceedings. Indeed, the show’s downfall was ultimately a product of its excessive self-absorption.

Many like to hang out and get trashed with their friends, but it’s no mystery why most people choose not to adapt their drunken antics for the stage—it’s only funny if you’re involved.

Next time the Players tempt you with wordplay and beer, do yourself a favor—get some friends together, buy a bottle of malt liquor, and enjoy each other’s humiliations in the privacy of your living room.

--Joel McConvey

Defending Players’ offenses

There was one unforgettable scene in This Hour has 9 1/2 Weeks that offered critical performance advice for any budding comedian: to make people laugh, get someone to ram stuff up your ass.

It makes them laugh every time.

I blush to admit it, but when Michelle Rakos, featured in a skit as Dr. Laura Schleissinger, pretended to have various large objects including melons, pop bottles and even live humans inserted into her posterior, I was laughing as loud as anyone in Clark Hall.

And I was still working on my first beer.

I couldn’t believe what was happening up there. From the anal-ram girl to ‘Rick Rick, the Sugar Dick,’ I was stunned by the Players’ audacity as they stuck things up their anuses and sang the praises of their teeny-tiny schling-schlongs.

It was really, really funny.

A lot of people didn’t appreciate the joke, though. One friend of mine called the show “the most objectionable load of rubbish thought up since than the Kirkland Lake garbage dump.” This Hour did register a few clicks above usual on the offense meter. The Players took shots at old people, Kingston people, gay people, straight people, fat people, men, women, parents and children. No one got away uninjured or unalienated. It was a sweaty, raunchy, puke-in-your-hands smut bath.

Another friend of mine was unimpressed. She compared the show to “a steaming pile of poo.” Ouch.

Her comment was particularly scathing in light of the fact that she works for Golden Words, kings of the tasteless joke.

For many people, This Hour went too far. But the show made me laugh, and so in order to live with my boorish self I have to rationalise. At least they tried to offend everybody.

Most of the audience just had to respect the merciless consistency with which the Players went about their objectionable performance. They did their best to offend everything and everyone within earshot, with no exception. No one was spared. I feel there is a twisted dignity in that.

And so I must applaud the Players. I tip my hat to their raunch, their anal intrusions, their tiny penises and their gratuitous swearing .

It was fuckin’ great.

--Pat Tanzola

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