by Case Aiken · August 13, 2014
I don’t think I can say anything to describe The Teddy Teddy Show, Live in NYC!, a one man show playing at the Kraine Theater in this year’s New York International Fringe Festival, better than that at one point there is a dance-off against Rudy Giuliani. Formatted as sort of like a Wayne’s World-style local-access TV show but dedicated to the '90s club scene instead of the grunge scene, the show advises with tongue firmly in cheek for the audience to be on a lot of drugs. I left wishing I had been, since this is definitely a weird show for better or worse.
Now, the show is not without its charm, but it is an odd duck. I’m not sure if I fully get the joke, having not really ever been part of a club scene, but it’s clearly a thing. References were very specific, highlighting old clubs that have since gone away, even showing before and after photos of some of them. While I haven’t really run into types like the titular Teddy Teddy (played by writer/performer Pete Zias), I can imagine that this is a massive exaggeration of a real kind of person, kind of like Bill Hader’s character Stefon (thus invoking another SNL sketch - one more and I win a free snow cone!).
There’s an obvious mirthful satire that makes this interesting to look at, though I had moments where I wished I knew what the actual line between reality and satire was if only to better get the joke. Again, I didn’t exactly get the joke, but I know that there was a joke in play and it wasn’t exactly falling flat just that I didn’t have the context for it. This isn’t to say that there weren’t any laughs for me, because there were a lot of good running gags, particularly involving the limited fan base that the TV-show-within-the-stage-show has. However, I can’t say that I really enjoyed this show and I know a lot of people who would flat out hate it, but for the right audience it feels like something that would really work.
If you or people you know were ever a part of New York’s club scene, this will hit home. If you can get behind the poking fun of that, then this should be a win. If you never want to be reminded of club kids again, this will probably drive you insane.