By David Walters

Brave and courageous. To have the chutzpah to stand on a stage and lay bare your truth under the harsh lights of live theater for all to see.

The emotional journey of his life that Darrell Hammond goes on in his show Cray, being recorded for five shows only by Audible at the Minetta Lane Theatre, is palpable to the audience as you can see it take a personal and emotional toll as he retells and relives it. So much so that audience members were heard to say afterward, “Don’t you just want to go and give him a hug?” He never went a day without feeling fear, and although that drove him into comedy, it took a heavy toll on his life and viewpoint about what it means to be alive.

Distilled from his book God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked: Tales of Stand-Up, Saturday Night Live and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem, and honest as the day is long, this monologue goes through the trauma of his upbringing, his development of comedy in order to cope, his long early years of struggle, and his almost fluke acceptance as the oldest, and subsequently second longest running cast member of Saturday Night Life.

Darrell is mostly known for his impersonations (presidents, political figures, and celebrities) that put him on the map. What’s fascinating, in a psychological sense, is finding out where his cultivated talent tragically came from. As they say, comedy is tragedy plus time. This is right on the money here as the clock strikes twelve.

The stage at Minetta Lane is suggestively set up as an apartment with a shelf with a few personal items, a table and a couple of chairs, and boxes of files (over 200 pounds) which are Darrell’s psychological medical history collected from over 40 therapists that he saw over the course of his life and the pharmacy of drugs that he was prescribed. It’s not what’s the matter with you, but what happened to you that rings true here.

Simultaneously a heartbreaking and joyful show showing both sides of the tragedy/comedy mask.

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Cray is written by Darrell Hammond and Elizabeth Stein, and directed by Christopher Ashley. Lighting design by Amanda Zieve

Get tickets now to the New York City premiere of  CRAY, recorded live from the Minetta Lane Theatre. 25% off when you use code MCCRAY.

 

If this review piqued your interest, you might also be piqued by one of the following reviews: South, for all the women who thought they were Mad, and Passage.