Sometimes even a 69 needs some lube.
Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally brought their show, “The Summer of 69: No Apostrophe,” to the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga Thursday night. It was a raunchy, musical affair that, while funny, could have used some tuning — or, given the subject matter, lubing — up.
Opening up was another project of Mullally’s: an acoustic ukulele duo named Nancy & Beth. Aside from that fact that I’m not a fan of seeing people open for themselves — it’s just tacky — the soft-country love songs didn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the evening. It was a weird way to kick things off.
After a bit of a break, Offerman came on stage carrying Mullally on his back, before the duo turned their backs to the audience, shaking their asses — not bare, mind you — toward the crowd.
Offerman has made sure to set expectations for the show, and goes out of his way to enforce that it’s not stand-up. And it isn’t. Instead, it falls somewhere between musical comedy and a cabaret act. The duo opened up with their titular “Summer of 69” song, full of metaphors for all sorts of dirty, wristwatch-meltingly hot sexual activity.
From there, the couple drifted into what Offerman himself admitted was the “low-hanging fruit” that is Donald Trump. They sang what they claimed was a song written after Offerman built a time machine and went into the future to see what the world was like under the rule of — as Offerman put it — the “cheese-encrusted Nazi.” (Offerman said he wishes he could challenge Trump to a fist fight, and would give the presidential candidate the chance to give the first five punches for free.)
Hollywood was the next target, with the pair setting their lyrics to song tackling all the various Hollywood stars that they’ve slept with. Overall, the musical numbers throughout the evening were the best parts, decent even if it most of it was a bit one-note, falling on the basic and easy side of musical comedy songwriting. I’m still debating if the songs would hold their own outside of the performance, or against other such musical comedy acts out there.
The vamping and transition bits in between songs needed some work though, and it was the non-musical material where things started to show their seams. At one point, they brought two couples up out of the audience for a compatibility quiz that was in essence a play on newlywed-type quiz show. The bit went on for a very long time, and mostly padding out the run time.
It was also somewhat hard to tell where the line falls between Offerman and Mullally and the seemingly overemphasized versions of themselves they portray, giving everything an odd, somewhat stilted, off-kilter sense of projection and even insincerity.
Overall, I was left with a twinge of disappointment. I’m still laughing remembering parts of the evening, but the pair managed to stretch just a handful of songs and material into roughly a hour-and-a-half set. And based off my chat with Offerman a few weeks earlier, I expected more of the saccharine elements of their marriage to come through. The heart of the show wasn’t quite present enough — their wedding-vow song started off genuine before taking a quick left turn into humorous territory — and with so much of the set being bits between songs, the time could have been used to go somewhere, to tell stories, or to talk about the success of their marriage and how they do actually make it work, or sharing their secrets with the rest of us plebeians.
But I guess the important question is: Did I laugh a lot? Of course. Continually. But overall, The Summer of 69 just needed more solid material, and could have used a little more rubbing and fondling to be fully, truly, erect.
Pro tip: If you are going to any of the outdoor concerts at Montalvo in late September, dress warm. I didn’t. I regretted it. I may never be warm again.
Curious if Offerman was actually on peyote as he stated, after seemingly missing a beat at one point.
I did get a continual kick out of Offerman’s little squeal of a laugh.