Rik Sansone and Jen Ryan in Interfaith Understanding. Photo by James Alexander.
BOTTOM LINE: At Interfaith Understanding with The Rev. Bill & Betty, sketch comedy meets YouTube.Interfaith Understanding with The Rev. Bill & Betty is the imagined public access televangelist show of serial widower Reverend Bill and his newest wife Betty. The theatre audience is taken to be the live studio audience, and this taping is complete with "commercial breaks" where comedy videos are played.
The show gets off to a rough start with an awkward, poorly paced, and not-too-funny video before Rev. Bill and Betty enter. From there, Interfaith Understanding improves and laughs are found in both Rev. Bill and Betty's outrageous Christian views and in the show's "commercials." By far, the high point of the show is the video advertising a new cereal: Cunt Flakes. Unfortunately, jokes like this are few and far between.
Rev. Bill and Betty are equally offensive to Jews, gays, Christians, Southerners, Muslims, and women, but most of all they are offensive to comedians. Technical malfunctions of every shape and size aside, I had the distinct feeling that the script was just barely memorized. The whole performance seemed under-rehearsed. Sound cues weren't timed, entrances were missed, and both the Rev. Bill and Betty stumbled over jokes and words alike.
For fans of sketch comedy who have a tolerance for the inevitable unfunny lulls, Rev. Bill and Betty have a joke or two up their sleeve if you can wait for it. If you are easily turned off by cheap, clumsy humor, take a pass on Interfaith Understanding and turn your dial to a different station.
(Interfaith Understanding with The Rev. Bill & Betty plays at The Robert Moss Theatre, 440 Lafayette Street, 3rd floor, between Astor Place and E. 4th Street, through August 29th. Remaining performances are Monday 8/23 at 3:15pm, Thursday 8/26 at 7pm, Friday 8/27 at 2pm, and Sunday 8/29 at 1:45pm. For more information visit www.revbillandbetty.com. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and are available at FringeNYC.com, by calling 866.468.7619, or in person at FringeCENTRAL, located at 1 East 8th Street at 5th Avenue. There is NO LATE SEATING for Fringe NYC shows.)