— Tic and/or Tac
(Hey, they're twins, they speak in unison; how am I supposed to know which one said it?)
A mere hour ago I was walking home from viewing Werner Herzog's amazing 3D documentary about the Chauvet caves of southern France, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, when I saw Tic & Tac performing in Washington Square Park. I'd seen them many times before, but I stopped "just for a moment" and ended up staying for the whole show.
What Tic & Tac do isn't exactly what a purist like me would label physical comedy, but rather a mixture of straight acrobatics and stand-up comedy and audience participation. They are street acrobats who intersperse a few impressive stunts with a lot of verbal comedy, most of it centering around racial stereotyping. Lots of build-up, not that many tricks, but they make it work.
They are smart enough to make more fun of themselves than they do of the spectators, so the audience is comfortable enough to join in the fun. And it is effective — as in they haul in a ton of cash. Or as they say, "thank you for making it possible for us to work two days a week while you work five."
So here's a two-part clip from 2009, not the show I just saw, but you get the spirit and the m.o. They've continued to evolve the act since then and you can see other versions on YouTube. Or, better yet, come visit us in New York for the very latest update!
It's street theater. People don't know how difficult it really is to stop people from doing whatever they're doing and just look at you. Especially New Yorkers. New Yorkers are prone to, even if you go to a comedy club, they're in there demanding "Make me laugh." What kind of attitude is that? In street theater, sometimes we get up there and we haven't even done anything yet and you still have people looking at you like, "You better do something good." It's fun to be able to win them over.
This YouTube video announces an upcoming Tic & Tac DVD documentary coming soon, but no specifics. If anyone knows more, drop me a line.
And, finally, a short but good interview with Tic & Tac here.
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