The Brave New Workshop is back with its second show post-COVID titled “This Show is Cheaper Than Gas: America on Empty“. Although BNW’s sketch comedy themes have always contained an undercurrent of “laughing through the tears” making fun of recent events, the underlying events of this show (inflation, abortion, war, discrimination) felt just a bit too heavy this time around. It’s getting harder to overcome the onslaught of difficult subjects with the usual lineup of comedic antics and absurdities. The Brave New Workshop has never strayed from making its audience squirm, to confront their own imperfections in the discomfort, but this latest production seemed to pile it on pretty thick. I think it’s really the nature of where we are as a society right now that’s it’s just harder to find funny things in the major headlines, and often those jokes have already been milked by late night TV.
I read a lot online about how a lot of us suppress the urge to scream on a daily basis and there’s definitely a lot of that vibe throughout the show. Heavy stuff is going on with no sign of any of it letting up. We are all just tired. ‘This Show is Cheaper than Gas‘ will make you laugh, just not quite as hard as last time. I longed for more of the more general satire sketches, like making fun of how often Target rebrands its products, office politics, or awkward family dynamics, mixed in to dilute the more hesitant laughs they got from me making light of how many different ways our world is sliding into the abyss.
It was fun to welcome new cast member, Isabella Dunsieth, who is a delightful addition to the group of seasoned performers. And music director John Pumper’s inflation song was a hoot for all the econ nerds (like my husband) in the audience. Things are slowly returning to something like normal, so get out there and see a live performance. It’s certainly better than watching the news!
This show runs through November 5, 2022
Tickets start at $35.