The lights go down, and a narrator in an Obi-Wan robe begins telling a story about a surprise party for Han Solo. The big reveal: Luke Skywalker is pregnant. With Han’s baby. Then there’s a choreographed dance number to Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$)” featuring aggressive booty-popping from a woman in a Chewbacca costume. It’s sort of sweet and totally insane.
And that is how “Blogologues: The A.S.S. Strikes Back” begins.
“Blogologues” is an ongoing show where creators Allison Goldberg and Jen Jamula, two of Time Out New York’s ten funniest women in New York, and an ensemble of actors turn internet content like fan fiction, Amazon reviews, and Craigslist Missed Connections into comedy sketches by taking the verbatim text and adapting it into a script. The show has been happening a few times a year with different themes since 2011. The current show, happening through March 28 at the COW Theater in the Lower East Side, is the third annual sex show (hence “A.S.S.”). The “Blogologues” crew puts on a beauty pageant for sex robots, goes on the worst OkCupid date of all time, and makes people laugh so hard they cry.
Co-creators, directors, and actors Goldberg and Jamula describe “Blogologues” as sketch comedy — but really it’s closer to a series of vignettes, each written by a different playwright and interpreted by a cast of trained theatrical actors (Tommy Heleringer, who stars in a breathlessly funny standout vignette called “Dekhyr Dragon’s Guide to Sex with Cars (for males),” said his previous credit was a Tennessee Williams play). Goldberg and Jamula scour the web for material, poking around in the weird corners to find the richest characters to bring to the stage.
“We think it’s more fascinating to treat [the characters] as real people” with complex personalities and motivations, Goldberg told ANIMAL. “We talk about ‘who are these people, where are they, why are they saying this,’ because the writers are real.”
Photo: Lindsay May Cook
Allegedly real, that is. When a source isn’t anonymous, Goldberg and Jamula will reach out to the author to let them know that their words are going to be performed, and they try to avoid material that’s obviously fake.
The material they’ve found works best for “Blogologues” isn’t necessarily laugh-out-loud funny as-written, but has some visual or narrative element — or a specificity in its language or characterization — that can be extracted. “Sometimes it tells a story on the surface, and sometimes there’s a weird subtextual story going on that we can see right away where we can tell, like, ‘oh, this person’s really about this,'” says Jamula. “There’s something about the personality of the person we feel we can bring out by putting it onstage.”
It’s funny to imagine Goldberg and Jamula, who are bright and cheerful theater-kid types, lurking on Reddit to find the grossest, kinkiest stuff they can, but they have real affection and an odd sense of respect for the people behind the bizarre comments and blog posts they draw from; it’s palpable in the serious and theatrical presentation. “We try not to make fun of them,” says Goldberg.
Goldberg said that she is desensitized to weird internet stuff, though, and doesn’t always know when something will go too far and disgust audience members who aren’t quite as about the Weird Internet life as she is. “It’s becoming a problem,” she says.
“Blogologues: The A.S.S. Strikes Back” deepens its already hilarious source material by completely committing to its absurd premises and insane characters. Bjork may sing a song about a chandelier made of dildos, but you really feel that she loves this chandelier made of dildos.
(Photo: Lindsay May Cook)