Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tic & Tac All Stars in Washington Square Park (NYC)

[post 145]

"Washington Square Park is the entertainment capital of the world."
— 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 I was thinking, these guys are pretty much an institution here in New York, but maybe not to most of my gazillion and one blog readers.  You know what I should do? I should go home, grab my handy-dandy Flip camera, come back to their next show (all of 15 minutes later), shoot it, and post it.  Luckily, I checked YouTube first and, happily, many people had already beat me to the punch. Which is why I'm sitting here sipping my second glass of chilled white wine, writing this intro, and embedding some html code, instead of kneeling on the hard concrete shooting a show I admire but, alas, also know by heart.

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.


Brennan Lowe said...

I know this was posted a year ago, but I just saw one of their performances today and I'm completely at a loss for words. These guys are blatantly and overtly racist pieces of trash. They spent more time lambasting a poor Asian tourist they picked from the audience than doing stuntwork. I was appalled by how offensive their scripted material was, and I'm seriously moved to take action. They might call their jokes edgy, but they clearly crossed the line with their racial "humor," and I will do what I can to stop them.

Anonymous said...

The Naked Cowboy has $2.5 million according to Net

How much do these loud creeps have? Where can you go in Washington Square Park without listening to their loud shouting and big fat drummer beating a full drum set? When's the city going to crack down on these tax gouging nuisances?
The city lets them perform for free and ruin the park for anyone who wants some peace from the city.

Personal Trainer Guy Putney said...

They certainly look like a talented pair! I've heard of street dance but not street theatre before!

Anonymous said...