James Judd Brings Warmth and Humor

April 30, 2010

I loved James Judd’s performance last year in Woods Hole and was eagerly looking forward to this year’s return visit. The Woods Hole Theater Company brought the San Francisco comedian to the Woods Hole Community Hall for two shows, this year, last night, and tonight.

I saw the show last night. James Judd was funny and down-to-earth, and this year, he brought comedienne Audrey Rapoport along with him, for an added treat for the audience. The two had met in 1990 and discovered they shared similar tastes in humor. This was their first performance together in years.

James opened by saying that he initially turned down Don Dutton’s request for another visit, saying last year’s experience was “so perfect, I wouldn’t want to mess it up.”  After a few drinks he changed his mind, and as he said he told Audrey, “If it doesn’t work, no one will ever know,” referring to the somewhat smaller audiences in Woods Hole compared to his usual venues.

That brought a laugh to the appreciative audience, as did the rest of the show, “Funny Stories,” in which James and Audrey alternated skits and stories, each performing solo. They did not join forces until the very end for a continuation of a funny face exercise initiated earlier by James, to help us get over a very bad winter.

He sympathized with the audience over the trials of the winter, the snow, the floods, the economy, and “at some point you elected a Playgirl centerfold to the Senate.” The last received mixed laughter, some of us appreciating it more than others. His goal for the show, was to bring us out of our winter doldrums, and he easily achieved that worthy goal.

James is openly gay and refers to his husband Eric and to non-enlightened responses to homosexuality throughout, but his humor is universal, and his stories are based on events that have actually happened to him, and the evening was warm and mirthful.

He talked about his experiences at “fat camp” after gaining 50 pounds following an unfortunate encounter with a poisonous spider, including the reactions of his four Mormon aunts, who happened to be there at the same time. He did a funny impersonation of Phyllis Diller as a nurse in the hospital, and he engaged the audience in the act, talking directly to us, and asking for responses.

Audrey performed skits, very funny skits: she was a dog-person trying to get into a college sorority, a dedicated local Republican organizer in 1984, waiting for Richard Nixon to show up and give a speech, and, my favorite, a a jaded ex-mouseketeer  entertaining at a nightclub.

She was wonderful. Her dog-like behavior and sound effects were hilarious, and her efforts to keep the crowd entertained during the wait for the no-show ex-president were very amusing. At one point she says, “Let me tell you what Mr. Nixon would say if he were here. First of all, he would apologize for being late. Then he would tell us that there is nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it. Then he would tell an interesting anecdote about his last trip to China. He would have us rolling in the aisles.”

She implores  people not to leave, noting that, if they do start leaving, “it will be visually unpleasant, with patches of emptiness.”

Audrey’s facial expressions and body language, always entertaining, are particularly effective in this skit.

You can catch the final show at 8 PM tonight at the Woods Hole Community Hall. Tickets may be purchased at the door, or by calling 508-540-6525. See Woods Hole Theater Company for more information.

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