We already knew Reed College students were smart, and now there’s also no mistaking their taste in humor. If you were among the lucky hundred or so people who saw Kasper Hauser’s sketch-comedy show Friday and Saturday nights at the Reed chapel, you’ll know what I mean.
First you need to know who, or what, Kasper Hauser is: a sketch-comedy quartet from San Francisco—Rob Baedeker, Dan Klein, and identical twins John and James Reichmuth. To say their comedy is intelligently, hilariously irreverent is a little like saying Portlanders sorta like bikes. Together, they’ve headlined some of the best comedy festivals and clubs in the country, and at the vaunted Edinburgh Fringe Festival they took the Herald Angel award. They cowrote and starred in Fishing with Gandhi and Cow Monkey, and have appeared on Comedy Central. Their books (so far) are SkyMaul: Happy Crap You Can Buy from a Plane and the upcoming Weddings of the Times: A Parody, to be released May 29. (For those of you who love to hate the Sunday wedding announcements in the New York Times, you’ll get it, and you’ll buy it for others who get it.) (Disclosure: Rob’s wife, Laura Scholes, a writer, is an old, close friend of mine, but I’d recommend these guys no matter what.) John and James are native Oregonians, from down around Medford, and James is a former Portlander. (John’s day job: public defender. James’s: psychiatrist.)
Last night at Reed they had the room hooting with their popular parody of This American Life with Rob as a dead-on Ira Glass, James as a most unexpected (and slightly terrifying) Terri Gross, John as an equally spot-on Garrison Keillor, and Dan as the Lake Woebegon sound effects guy. (Update: they’ll be on the ACTUAL This American Life Sunday, March 15.) In another sketch they were monks who received word that the Vatican would allow them to speak after years of silence—an interesting question: if you’d been silent for a decade and had four minutes to speak before returning to your vow, what would you say? Yeah.
What else? A restaurant that served Spicy Pony Head. And a four-star general’s Senate confirmation hearing in which he text-messages with his saucy girlfriend (this one’s a sketch of multimedia genius derived from a writing exercise the guys do from time to time).
If you happened to be at Cafe Castagna late last night and got annoyed with the raucous table of ten, forgive us. On stage or off, these guys can’t help but bring down the house.
On their way out of town, they recommended—highly—the Portland sketch comedy group The 3rd Floor. Have you guys seen them? How are they?