Spurn's Sketch Marks

A comedy troupe mostly spurns the laughs

A week of striking writers has reduced you to chuckling along with Jimmy Kimmel ad libs. Spurn X, the 10th outing by a sketch-comedy troupe that's earned pull-quotes of "Disgusting!" and comparisons to Kids in the Hall, might seem just the antidote. Sad to say, Spurn's new collection of sketches doesn't live up to its billing. Some of the pieces have a single premise milked so relentlessly you expect Rob Schneider to step in. A guy likes to explain the origins of things! We're trying to hide a dead stripper! Others are less premises than placeholders: "Fortune-Teller Sketch," "Public-Access Show Sketch." Along the way, we learn that girls are like this, and guys are like that. (Like what? Assholes.)

Spurn can come up with some clever, and groan-inducing, lines: In "Like a Velveeta Glove Cast in Iron," Ross McIntyre's jittery ad executive unveils some Mr. Show–worthy slogans, including (for honey) "Bitch better have my honey" and (for tampons) "Paint the town red." The cast enjoys a relaxed but polished camaraderie. McIntyre and new cast member Greg London avidly throw themselves into performative stakes-raising, while Kristen Rozanski's expressive double-takes liven up even that public-access sketch. But all the F-bombs and vajayjays in the world can't cover the essential blandness of this collection. Spurn X may try to come off all East Village, but it's strictly Whole Foods at heart.

 
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