Fringeworthy

Hip Shot: Funny Stories 2

Caos on F

Remaining Performances:

July 13, 4:45 p.m.

July 16, 8:15 p.m.

July 18, 10:15 p.m.

July 20, 9:30 p.m

They say: "In Funny Stories 2, NPR storyteller James Judd picks up where last year’s hit Funny Stories left off with a collection of new stories, fan favorites and classics from his vault of hilarious stories from his crazy life."

Sarah's Take: Funny Stories 2 is exactly what it sounds like: a guy, on a stage, telling wacky stories. Luckily, that guy is James Judd, whose spirited renditions of the most absurd moments from his life are sure to have you chuckling.

Over the course of an hour, Judd recounts the details of his fifth-grade book-report battle with Mary Applebaum (the second most popular girl in school), his obsession with the psychotic dermatologist removing his tattoo, and a LGTB scuba trip off the New England coast (Fringegoers will recognize this final story from last year's show). Told with an enthusiasm verging on mania, Judd's stories careen off point at times. But he saves them with snarky one-liners—"If I learned anything from watching soap operas, it's that no matter who you marry, you're always gonna wind up with her sister"—that win back the audience's attention and their laughs.

Judd's last monologue, "How I Made My First Friend in New England," is the strongest of the three—perhaps because it is the oldest and best rehearsed. His pacing is less frantic than in the first two stories, and his impressions of his fellow divers are hilariously vivid.

Funny Stories 2 is no great breakthough for comedy, but it's not trying to be. With his likeable exuberance and congenial, gossipy tone, Judd has the air of a great dinner party guest—he'll make you laugh, but not hard enough to choke on your pot roast.

See it if: You appreciate comedy that's earnest, a little bit absurd, and only an hour long.

Skip it if: Murderous dermatologists don't sound funny at all.

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