Mike & Matt


This is clearly the most accurately-titled show in the Festival, in that it delivers precisely what the name promises: nothing more, and nothing less. Brothers Mike and Matt Fotis take the stage, and each one of them tells a story. So there’s really nothing to this, beyond the strengths and weaknesses of the individual stories themselves: and they are, fortunately, both extremely skilled comics.

Mike opens the show, by delivering a pretty classic Mike-Fotis piece: taking a relatively innocuous incident, then blowing it wildly out of proportion, finding thousands of trivial moments within it and ranting wild tangents about each one of them.

Then Matt takes the stage. He did a show on this theme down in Kansas City (which, unfortunately, I had to miss, since our performance schedules largely precluded each other). It’s an irony, considering the fact that Mike really couldn’t be more of a minimalist performer — he speaks sitting down, and works from notes, a la Spalding Gray — that he is by far the more physically dynamic of the two: he shrieks, he flails his arms, he achieves as much animation as is humanly possible from that position.

Matt, on the other hand, strolls onto the stage and ambles into an incredibly laconic, laid-back delivery. It took me a good while to adjust to the sudden shift — I keep going back and forth in my head on whether it would be wise to switch the two in the lineup, but there’s some pretty compelling pros and cons both ways.

Their delivery is well-suited to their content, however — while what Mike is doing is essentially stand-up (or sit-down, har har, oh God I hate myself so deeply), Matt’s piece is more contemplative (while still containing some very sharp comedy writing).

I was definitely laughing, and consistently entertained. So it feels a bit churlish to criticize — and particularly, to criticize this show for something that it wasn’t, as opposed to something that it was. But I have to confess to some dissatisfaction, when the ending rolled around: it feels like a bit of a tease to put that much talent onstage, and to really do the bare minimum with the promise of the show. I wanted to see the two of them do something together. Or at least interact. Or, at the very least, to have their two stories thematically connect in some way.

Shortly before posting this, I noted a status update from Mike on Facebook, indicating that he was putting the finishing touches on a new story, and that the two of them would be doing some joint storytelling. So I can’t help but wonder if they had the same observation themselves. And it really makes me want — if only I could justify it — to swing by their show again, and see what they’re trying this time around. Mother of fuck, I love the Fringe.