If you’re possessive about your personal space or your glass of wine, consider yourself warned about Bridget Everett: The downtown cabaret star (and the subject of an in-depth feature story by Julie Seabaugh in the Voice‘s September 10 issue) is likely to commandeer both over the course of Rock Bottom, her raucous solo musical, now playing at Joe’s Pub. Ditto if you’re squeamish about the male or female anatomy or jokes about loneliness and existential despair.
If you’re up to the challenge, you’re (mostly) in for a treat. Rock Bottom consists of a series of raunchy cabaret songs, backed by a band and a couple of singers and punctuated by dry, hilarious patter. Wearing a skimpy, toga-like wardrobe that constantly threatens to malfunction, Everett confronts and cajoles, drawing audience members into her stories and sometimes into her arms. She recounts around-the-world sexual exploits and muses about the embarrassing poignancy, for a lonely single person, of a hairdresser’s gentle touch. There’s a group sing-along to an anti-rape number entitled “Put Your Dick Away,” and, for dessert, a spectator licks whipped cream from the star’s inner thigh.
Not all of Rock Bottom displays the same bold intelligence. Some songs that showcase Everett’s powerful pipes also tend toward sappiness. And her reliance on graphic sexual comedy eventually wears thin — not because it isn’t funny, but because it’s too facile for a performer this fascinating and smart. Miriam Felton-Dansky