Review: "Laser Comedy Show" Turns Light into Laughs

Laser Comedy Show

Performed by Chris Fair

Presented at UNDER St. Marks

94 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, NYC

Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5:30pm; Friday, Feb. 21 at 10:30pm; Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8:50pm; Saturday, Feb. 29 at 7:10pm; Tuesday, Mar. 3 at 7:10pm; Sunday, Mar. 8 at 1:50pm

Tickets available here.

Chris Fair. Courtesy of artist
Many of you have probably been to an improv show before. But did that improv show involve... lasers? In Laser Comedy Show, Chicago-based comedian and artist Chris Fair ambidextrously wields a pair of lasers to illustrate the stories that he invents in real time, with a large fabric screen that reacts to lasers as his literal and comedic canvas (you can also buy a Laser Comedy Show t-shirt with this same fabric on the front, bundled with your own laser). The effect is something like a living comic book or, at times, almost approaching the kind of animation that you might see on Adult Swim.

Fair is an amiable presence in front of the screen and an imaginative voice behind it. He draws from behind the fabric, like an Oz with dual lighted wands, and the bright lines left behind by the lasers fade, so that he can keep creating new images in a sort of glowing palimpsest. Drawing over the mouths of his characters, which ranged from humans to animals to sentient objects on the night that we saw the show, cleverly generates a sense of movement that indicates who is speaking. Part of the fun also comes from watching the drawings evolve and take shape, including those moments when an image snaps into place in your mind, when you suddenly know what that group of lines is.
Image courtesy of Chris Fair
The other part of the fun of course comes from the show's quirkily humorous narratives, which are fashioned from whole cloth. Fair, who overcame a speech impediment, bullying, and a fear of public speaking on his road to professional comedy, has an ability to spin out an involved story from a couple of simple audience suggestions. At the performance that we attended, for example, he brought the Chicago skyline to life—literally—before introducing a human couple with a habit of taking gym selfies and questionable decisions to pay a lot of money to be very cold at a baseball game. Later, he wove the suggestion of a table who wants a friend into a magic-infused picaresque adventure.

Fair has been performing laser comedy for nine years of his over-sixteen-year comedy career, and he has brought the Laser Comedy Show to over 40 comedy and fringe festivals around the United States and Western Europe, and it's now New York City's turn to see him, at the 2020 FRIGID Festival. If you're looking for a unique, chill comedy experience, laser les bon temps rouler with Laser Comedy Show.

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