Well, this is an odd one. I mean, not the Greg and Mike part- it’s Series 3, they’re supposed to be here.
No, the odd part is the other two- Mark Cohen, who had a nice enough debut in E2 but was slightly bawdy, and John Sessions, in the first of his final two Whose Line episodes. It’s the equivalent of pairing Andy Samberg up with Derek Jacobi.
Also, a note that Mike McShane….Mike McShaved…as Prince of Thieves wrapped before Mike flew out to the US. So, R.I.P. Mike Beard…for now.
Authors: She’s Gotta Have More Macaroni and Cheese
Mike: Lewis and Clark
Mark: Mario Puzo
Greg: Millie, the White House Dog
John: Ernest Hemingway
Clive, on Greg’s style: “Is that an actual author?”
Greg: “Yes, it’s Barbara Bush’s dog…and she’s a damn fine writer.”
Clive: “…I thought it was called Dan Quayle, but nevermind…”
The audience groans/boos at this.
Greg, chuckling: “Welcome to America, Clive…”
Also, ONCE AGAIN, John picks the obvious author just to be pretentious. Good to see that, even if it looks like times are tougher, he can still be the same old git.
I’d like to point out that Mark is doing a DeNiro impression for Puzo. Puzo didn’t exactly write Godfather Part II…
Greg: [dog noises] “He had a horse’s head, and he had a horse’s ass…IT WAS DAN QUAYLE!”
John STILL GETS A GOOD 10 SECONDS MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE. DOES THIS SHIT END???
This is a pretty good round, though, as the plot stays intact, Mark cracks up, Mike’s going high energy, and…
Mark, mid-crack-up: “They continued to make love…”
The audience loves this one. So does John, as it takes him a second to recover from this.
Film and Theatre Styles v1: Mark and John (borrowing something from a neighbor)
MARK AND JOHN??? AH, THE SAMBERG-JACOBI COMBO COMES TO LIFE!
Someone shouts out ‘PORNOGRAPHIC!’. Mark, in response, goes back to his seat. It is only the force of Greg grabbing Mark’s ass that gets him back onto the stage.
Mark and John do a really nice scene-setup, of the relationship and the setting…and then John goes “Can I borrow your wife.”
OH MY…JOHN GOT FUNNY!
The surrealist style brings out the best in this, as, for the second time in his short WL tenure, Mark pops out from under someone’s legs. Then, John rides him around the stage, for the second time in HIS WL tenure.
Mark and John both do really well in the Commedia style, and it surprises me that Mark has such a grasp on it (obviously John would).
A relatively nice scene, especially considering the reputation of these two as performers.
Film and Theatre Styles v2: Mike and Greg (son telling a father he’s smashed the car)
In two lines, Mike and Greg establish everything you need to know in just their vocal tones.
Thank God both Mike and Greg have seen their fair amount of David Lynch films (especially Blue Velvet, as both seem to be channeling Frank Booth), as this style is fantastic, and manic.
The Ibsen style goes well, with dueling Norwegian accents, though it ends with Greg stumbling, going “and now…my accent has gone.”
Mike: “Let us take a tour of Denmark with your accent.”
Mike, taking him literally: “Good evening.”
Greg pulls out a really nice Peter Lorre, which is great, despite…the fact that i don’t think Peter Lorre ever appeared in a Hitchcock film.
Mike: “It’s not that I hate you…get into the shower…”
Greg then turns into Norman Bates (finally figuring out someone who WAS in a Hitchcock movie), and moves around Mike, doubling as Norman and his mother.
Mike: ‘….I love it when you use me as a split-screen montage…”
Both of them stand there, trying not to crack up. Once Clive ends it, they crack.
That was a masterful F&TS, culminating in a fantastic Mike quote, and some really funny stuff throughout.
World’s Worst- Idea for a TV program:
Mark: “This is ‘Bob Dylan’s Speech Class’!”
Greg: “Hello, and welcome to the Disney Channel’s ‘Snuggles, the Lovable Python!’
I do enjoy Mark’s bemused expression whenever Clive buzzes him right after the concept. Like, he’s almost betrayed. Every time.
Very nice round, with a lot of silly stuff from Mike.
Props: John and Greg vs. Mike and Mark
John: “Daddy, when you give me a hula hoop, do you really have to put me in the microwave?”
John: “…this snake likes itself so much…”
Pretty fun round, with Mike and SURPRISINGLY JOHN giving good stuff.
Song Styles: Mike sings a disco song about underwear
This is a very, very funny song about incredibly tight underpants, making up for its brevity with Mike’s effort.
Party Quirks: Mark hosts
Mike: US Football Coach
John: bad mime artist
Greg, obviously, nails the auctioneer voice immediately when he enters, not even shutting up for a decibel and going around trying to sell things.
Mike’s entry is the second time tonight a hand has come near Mark Cohen’s ass.
I do find it funny that Mark forgets the word ‘auctioneer’ exists. Like…we have those here, y’know…
John, as usual, talks through his….WHICH IS QUITE MADDENING CONSIDERING HE’S PLAYING A MIME.
Well, believe it or not, JOHN SESSIONS ACTUALLY SINGS IN A SINGING GAME. I mean, it’s not his best, and he makes it about how bland LA Law is (all that time in the US really doing ya in, eh John?), but still.
Greg has a rousing start to his:
“My name is Perry Mason…I never lose a case…
Everybody’s always waiting…for Della to sit on my…”
Mark’s, of course, is pretty high energy, complete with a nice-sized pelvic thrust towards the end.
The energy that these four reach on that last beat…that’s something pretty special.
Overall: I was honestly not expecting much from this one, but lo and behold it gave some of the strongest dynamics of the season so far, by, ironically enough, returning to basics for a spell. This show, structurally, felt very Series 2, right down to the inclusion of John Sessions, and yet it worked out in more contemporary ways. Mike and Greg soared over this episode, the former having some great jokes, and the latter giving a performance more indicative of his later years. John was better than he’s been in a while, and a ton happier, too. Mark, despite bringing up the rear, tried, and had some nice moments, but honestly he wasn’t really right for the show when it comes down to it.
Show Winner: John
Best Performer: Mike by a hair. He just dominated the middle half of the show, and had the best lines in F&TS
Worst Performer: Mark, but not without effort
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v2, for being an all-time classic, and bringing the best out in Mike and Greg
Worst Game: Party Quirks, for being, essentially, the weak link in the show.