By Patrick Hurley
Just in time for the Holidays, or…I guess the summer holiday? No, it must be that time of year again. Yes, it’s the Hollywood Fringe Fest! Where else would you see the uproariously funny, politically incorrect Christmas special A Harmony Boys Christmas in the middle of June?
Playing at the Sacred Fools Theater, A Harmony Boys Christmas is like a sweet Holiday confection laced with crack. Set in 1962, at the annual Harmony Boys fundraising concert, the show is part sketch comedy, part concert, and all absurd. Taking it’s cue from the dark political days that we now find ourselves in, there are a handful of indirect Trump jokes, the show is less interested in being a political statement, and actually seems more interested in nostalgia and strangely enough the joys of community. There is a heart at the center of the piece, a dark and twisted heart, but a heart nonetheless, and it embraces that as much as it embraces its brash and sometimes distasteful humor.
The charity that the Boys started is called Force Feed the World, in which they “shove food and their personal cultural and religious beliefs down the throats of the less fortunate during the holiday season.” And being set in 1962 the jokes are perpetually aimed at anyone and everyone who isn’t a white heterosexual male. And in doing so, the most skewered group is actually, though not accidentally, white heterosexual men. Good on ya, boys!
Written and directed by Aaron Matijasic, who is also one of the Harmony Boys himself, this piece is definitely not short on humor, and each of the men who make up the Harmony Boys gets their moment to shine, whether it’s in a suggestive song, or reading an excerpt from their new book on date rape. Aaron Matijasic and his fellow Boys Michael Hoy, Gabriel Oliva, and Al Rahn are all hilarious and just go for broke with the broad and larger-than-life characters they’ve created. Yes, some of the jokes are easy, and some cringe-worthy, and sure the funeral song is way out of line, and in our age of over-correctness, it is sure to offend someone. This is one of the show’s greatest strengths, its willingness to walk the line between offensive and innocuous, and as all art must do, it stays true to its form, even at the expense of itself. Hats off to these men, and to all the comics and writers who refuse to kowtow to the cries for political correctness and are steadfastly holding on to the centuries old practice of tasteless, and crude humor.
Having said that, the show is also silly and frivolous fun that isn’t setting out to offend anyone, except maybe hardcore Trump supporters, but they clearly don’t know what a joke is, now do they? The show not-so gently embraces broad humor and pokes fun at a society that just fifty years ago seems like quite a different world. Hopefully not a world we are returning to anytime soon. What this show has to offer is a bit of escapism for an hour, and with the world in the state it’s in, who isn’t completely down for that?
A Harmony Boys Christmas
Written and Directed by Aaron Matijasic
The Sacred Fools Theater Mainstage is located at 1076 Lillian Way (just west of Vine), in Hollywood, 90038.