Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Agony and the Ivories at Fringe

Grown Man Productions, Chicago, IL, presented Bill Larkin behind the piano in the Brown Venue. I have to say right up front that this was the funniest show I have seen so far at this year's Fringe. Bill was from Orlando working at the SAK Comedy Lab before he moved to Chicago. He is an actor, musician, and most defiantly a comedian. He feels the music and he feels your pain.

He sang a song about his twin brother. It was the first song he ever wrote when he was just 8 years old. The beautiful chord progressions that followed lead me to believe a Disney ballad might follow. Instead the ballad was about how the family only wanted one child. Then followed his dreams of killing his brother and how the world would be such a better place once he was gone. It was hilarious and unsettling all at once, a viscous and crazy childhood dream.

Another song about his childhood involved the lengths he had to go to to see some porn. It involved a long trip into town on his trust bike. His destination, six miles away, was the magical Davidson's Pharmacy that carried a special type of magazine. Way in the back of that den of drugs were the magazines, from Time to Woman's Day, but up above those behind an orange, plastic screen were the objects of his dreams - Playboy and Penthouse magazines. He was able to reach the forbidden fruit and he hid it inside a Life Magazine. Lost in the splendor of what he saw, his cover was blown when a proprietor tapped him on the shoulder. He ran for his life and biked home in the rain.

He then explained how easy children have it today. He asked a member of the audience to set the timer on their iPhone to see how long it might take him to find some porn on his phone. The timer was set and his fingers flashed across the screen. Within 14 seconds he found a site and screamed. It took 14 seconds. He shouted it out for all to hear. He then walked over to the outdoor stage door, opened it, and sunlight streamed in. "14 seconds!" he shouted.  I laughed so hard my sides hurt.

This is just a dry sampling of the hilarity that ensued. His songs tackled subjects such as aging, homosexuality, self-esteem, and social media.  Weird Al Yankovic himself is "a big fan."

The Agony and the Ivories is in the Brown Venue at the Orlando Shakes, 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, FL 32803. 

Tickets are $12 plus a $10 Fringe Button needed for every show.

Remaining show times:

6:15 PM
8:15 PM
10:45 PM
5:30 PM
7:00 PM

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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