The funniest comedians always slug you in the gut every once in awhile. Don Reed has given us this satisfying mix of "ha-ha-ha" combined with "aw-gee-whiz" many times in his past performances. We first saw "East Fourteenth Street" in 2008 but can still see Reed's face and body language as he introduced us to his quirky friends and family, his father and mother and his brothers. We can see little Blinky right now as we write and would love to come back and hear more about all of them.
Sadly, we get too little of that in "Semi-Famous," Reed's latest solo performance. On the bright side, we get some funny bits ("E.T. So Stoned") cobbled around various tales involving celebrities he has come across in his journeys through L.A. semi-stardom. They all start out like bar-jokes: Reed walks into a bar/club/restaurant and who is there? Jody Whatley. Or Keenan Wayans. Or Barry White. Or Chubby Checker (a peculiarly cruel impersonation). Reed does interesting impressions of all the people he has seen, but that's all there is to it. Like an audition, it's one shot and "next."
When Don Reed brings us into his story and gets us involved with his characters, we're happy to be with him. We love to ride along and meet his creations. In "Semi-Famous" we meet nobody but Reed, as he wanders through the city of the Angels, a semi-famous person having brief encounters with other semi-famous people. We get a few belly laughs. And then we're done.
RATINGS: ☼ ☼
The San Francisco Theater Blog loves Don Reed but this show: not so much. The Awards Division awards "Semi-Famous" Two Stars. You will laugh for sure, find out something nice about Tom Cruise and pretty much what you expected from Courtney Love.
"Don Reed: "Semi-Famous"
1062 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Sat-Sun through October 19