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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 12:23 am | Fair 47º


She Said, Z Said: Life After ‘Sesame Street’ Is Profanely Funny on ‘Avenue Q’

Just for laughs, puppets put an adult spin on childhood fantasy at SBCC's Garvin Theatre

Z: Puppets swearing — now that’s comedy.

She: I didn’t think it would be so funny, but it really is. Hilarious, almost pee-your-pants funny. Swearing puppets and wildly inappropriate songs. I’m still chuckling about some of them.

Z: How could you not laugh? Avenue Q (which is playing at SBCC’s Garvin Theatre through Saturday) had me at “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English.”

She: You and me both. They were playing our song.

Z: What could be a better date night than going to a play with songs like “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today,” “If You Were Gay,” “Schadenfreude,” and the show-stopper: “The Internet is for Porn?”

She: I can’t argue with that. Avenue Q is a perfect date night for people like us who are easily amused by the juxtaposition of adult themes in a child-like medium.

Z: I don’t know. You’re making it sound a little too adult for me when you put it like that.

She: Oh, it was plenty crass and full of easy, cheap laughs.

Z: My kind of humor.

She: But despite that, the show was an insightful riff on the nurturing encouragement of shows like Sesame Street — shows exactly like Sesame Street — where every child is special and destined for greatness.

Z: Which is probably why the front of the program has the disclaimer: “Avenue Q has not been authorized or approved by the Jim Henson Company or Sesame Workshop, which have no responsibility for its content.”

She: The show is predicated on the idea that by the time people travel from the childhood fantasy of living on Sesame Street, sponsored by the letter “A,” to the reality of Avenue Q, they need to face the fact that they’re nothing special.

Z: And it stars puppets. Did I mention that? Who knew that puppets were the right medium for raunch and a message?

She: I wonder if that’s why our friend Dr. B keeps doing his ventriloquism act with his puppet, Mortimer.

Z: I’m pretty sure that’s just to annoy his wife.

She: I hear that it’s working.

Z: It makes me think that puppets could come in handy in all sorts of situations.

She: Like when Koss’ kindergarten teacher dismissed the parents on the first day of school using a puppet.

Z: Exactly. If they’re funny, why can’t they also be useful? The surgical puppet: “I’m afraid that leg is going to have to go,” would be much less traumatic coming from a puppet.

She: No ...

Z: “Honey, I want a divorce,” from the divorce puppet. Or, “Tell me where the nuclear bomb is hidden,” from the waterboarding puppet. Do you want to hear about my IRS puppet?

She: Just because they’re funny on stage doesn’t mean they would be useful anywhere else. Just ask Dr. B’s wife.

Z: Poor puppets. Consigned to the stage by bigotry.

She: But the stage is still a useful place. In a weird way — by contrasting the me-centric way we bring up kids, only to thrust them into a cold world after college — this show is a significant and socially relevant piece of contemporary theater.

Z: Like when the puppets get drunk and have super loud, screaming monkey sex.

She: Best of all, it give those of us with B.A.’s in English and Liberal Arts a chance to make up some garbage about how insightful profane puppets are.

Z: True that.

She: But mostly it’s just a very funny show, and people should go see it next weekend before it closes. Swearing puppets, inappropriate songs — what’s not to like?

Z: It’s one-of-a-kind.

She: It also reminds me that we should go see Ted before it leaves town.

Z: Yes, dear.

Click here for show times or to purchase tickets online.

— Go see Avenue Q, then tell She and Z what you think by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Read She Said, Z Said every Monday on Noozhawk and follow them on Twitter: @lesliedinaberg. Click here for previous She Said, Z Said columns.

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