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Coppertone Splits the Critics' Vote – UPDATED

by Jerome Weeks 31 Aug 2009 1:21 PM

Think TV interview with Matthew Posey and Coppertone Jones Mark Lowry’s review at TheaterJones Lawson Taitte’s review for the Dallas Morning News Alexandra Boninfield’s review for the Renegade Bus Elaine Liner’s review in the Dallas Observer It’s a split — two mixed to negative reviews and two positive reviews (more or less positive in the […]


  • Lawson Taitte’s review for the Dallas Morning News

It’s a split — two mixed to negative reviews and two positive reviews (more or less positive in the case of Mark Lowry’s). ‘ Coppertone Jones is the star of director-creator Matt Posey’s trilogy of puppet shows at the Ochre House — the third and last installment, Asylum, opened Saturday. Lawson Taitte thought Posey has hit a ‘ shock-jock’ dead-end, not being able to garner more laughs without grossing out audience members completely, while Alexandra Boninfield feels the very loose skit didn’t have as much going for it as previous shows, notably The Pope of Chili Town. Mark Lowry, on the other hand, recognizes the show’s weaknesses (“There’s not much of a plot here, mostly frat-guy shenanigans and scatalogical humor”) but enjoyed it nonetheless. And Elaine Liner really liked it. Hmm. Something about pathetic, rude, comical puppets getting bossed around by a dominatrix nurse appeals to her.

The question of just how vulgar or cheap-shottish yakking puppets can go is an interesting one, considering this timely LATimes article on the rise of alternative comedy — Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Flight of the Conchords — into Hollywood avenues. The studios liked the way it played on college campuses and the interwebs.

There’s no one definition of “alternative comedy.” It covers Demetri Martin’s sweet-natured riffs on New Jersey furniture chain Futon World (“A magical place that becomes less comfortable over time”), Zach Galifianakis’ belligerence in the Web series “Between Two Ferns” and even the pedophile sketches by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim on their Adult Swim show “Tim and Eric: Awesome Show, Great Job!”

“One of the common traits,” says comic Scott Aukerman, a co-creator of “Between Two Ferns” and co-host of UCB’s “Comedy Death-Ray” night, “is just how far it’ll go for a laugh.”

  • The message is not vulgarity. Look at vaudeville for your answers in this. It always takes a leap of faith to watch theatre. Alternative comedy is proportionate to any act of conservatism. The more “right” the country goes, the more “left” goes the Alternative movement. We live in a moderate world. The shock factor is important. Who wants to hear tidy little messages wrapped neatly with a bow? Hell, maybe we should just stick to the old standards. I know, how about “You Can’t Take It With You”? As far as I’m concerned we haven’t gone far enough.