JFL42 Review: 'Threedom' Podcast Tangents Are, in Fact, the Destination Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto, ON, September 19
Savvy improvisers Lauren Lapkus, Paul F. Tompkins and Scott Aukerman let conversation flow without a plan
Published Sep 20, 2019Improvising geniuses Lauren Lapkus, Paul F. Tompkins and Scott Aukerman staged their Threedom podcast at JFL42, giving listeners pretty much what they expect from these three good friends who branch off into different topics, making casual small talk hilarious.
In reflecting upon it, the evening was really both in-the-moment and all over the place. Whenever anyone mentioned anything — be it Coyote Ugly, children's books, aliens and UFOs or being embalmed — the others interjected, rooting through the topic for jokes. And it very often worked, taking us on absurd trips.
In something of a centrepiece, Lapkus told us a story about giving her 94-year-old grandmother money for a birthday gift most years, but really catching hell from her the one time she got her chocolate covered strawberries instead. Somehow this led us into a favourite subject, Michael Jackson, whose interest in obtaining the Elephant Man's bones prompted Tompkins to explain just who this Elephant Man was to all of us. Lapkus and Tompkins were particularly free-flowing and funny on this night, with a lot of on-stage magic stemming from them.
It was Aukerman, though, repeatedly invoking a sentient, generous tree character, who tried to steal the show like the pettiest of petty thieves. Initially openly fretting about the three chairs on stage and shamelessly showing off how carefully considered such furniture decision-making is in improv comedy when you're a guy in his position who thanklessly makes everyone else's chair arrangements on tour, Aukerman eventually got down to his true agenda: pretending to be a talking tree.
Oh, how he pretended to be this tree that can talk on at least three occasions. What manner of strangeness is in this Aukerman's mind, to call back to this altruistic tree so many times. At least three times he did this. "I love you," the tree would say, primarily to Tompkins, even as their various relationships splintered. It was a lot to think about.
This was an enjoyable evening for certain, but perhaps a better name for this event would have been Treedom. The original name is appropriate too, but boy, was Scott Aukerman acting like a tree. It was a lot to think about.