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The Circus Head Show 

He's wildly uneven and relentlessly immature, but also an uncanny voice impressionist

Wednesday, Jan 21 2004
Will Franken calls himself an "avant-garde, experimental comic." I'd call him a talented mimic with a hyperactive imagination. The nervous energy of The Circus Head Show starts with a video about a housewife, played by Franken in drag, driving to San Francisco in near hysterics and talking on the phone to a would-be killer. "If you want to see your son alive, do as I say," the murderer instructs, directing her to a venue in the Mission called Spanganga. You, the audience, happen to be sitting in Spanganga. Soon enough the frantic wife bursts in, live, still on the phone; the killer orders her to pretend to be Will Franken for the next two hours and to put on a comedy show. It's the weirdest entrance I've ever seen, and almost every other good skit involves more interaction between Franken live and Franken on video. In the best routine, a homophobic Southern redneck heckles a gay man in L.A. who's speaking by "live satellite feed." Franken plays both men, in separate costumes. Eventually they have a fistfight. It has to be said that some skits aren't funny at all -- Franken is wildly uneven and relentlessly immature -- but his timing is sharp, and his uncanny voice impressions range from a stuffy Oxford professor to a shambling blues guitarist, with a detour through Kermit the Frog.


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