Capital Fringe Review: ‘Smellin’ Up the Den!’ by Mike Spain

Smellin’ Up The Den! is a sketch comedy show with outrageous skits similar to ones seen on Saturday Night Live! – except there are no network censors. In the skits. there is talk about sexual organs, among other things, but writers Scott Courlander and David Juliano use it all for laughs instead of raunchy, shock humor. The show is funny and ready for a theater near you. The comedy features a full cast, costume changes, videos, a live musician, and funny skits. Some of the material might offend, but I heard a lot of laughs from the audience and I didn’t witness anyone cringing or running out!

(c) Rebecca Rice.
(c) Rebecca Rice.

The very funny and talented cast included Michael Cartwright, Scott Courlander, Jonas David Grey, Justus Hammond, Nick Hitchens and Katie Zitz.. They all shined in the opening sketch on “Herpes” which was a comedic take on the pharmaceutical commercials  for its Herpes drug-line. Another skit I enjoyed featured Justus Hammond as a Redskins fan out with his girlfriend (portrayed by Ms. Zitz) who was breaking up with him in a busy restaurant.

Mary Wakefield supplied some funny specialty costumes which worked perfectly for the fast-paced show. The costumes were easy to change in and out of and they showed  what character the actor was playing. I loved the Hitler uniform, the Jesus and doctor costumes, and some Zorro-like fencing costumes.

Aaron Fensterheim did a great job with the sound, including  some crystal clear sound for bassist Julian Rosenberg, whose short runs of theme songs between skits were delightful.The sound for the videos was heard by the audience but it did not overpower the audience.

My favorite video was the fake Lysol commercials for “Lysol Ass & Hole.” The other video was a series called “Leader” played between several sketches. It was about someone taking over the world and the changes they were making added some political humor. A great example was when the leader said he was increasing teachers to add art classes and create smaller class size. And there was a hysterical sketch that included Jesus and Hitler.

Smellin’ Up The Den! is a great comedy program and it’s one of the best shows I have seen in this year’s Capital Fringe. Don’t miss it!

Running Time : One hour.

Smellin’ Up The Den! plays through July 26, 2013 at Goethe Institut – Gallery – 812 7th Street NW, in Washington, DC. For performance information and to purchase tickets go to their Capital Fringe page.

2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Smellin’ Up the Den!’ by Scott Courlander.


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