|Photos by Erin Browner|
|The cast of Killing My Lobster Chops Down the Family Tree.|
San Francisco sketch comedy group Killing My Lobster turns 15 this year, and to celebrate, it launches a frontal assault on the idea of family. Killing My Lobster Chops Down the Family Tree opens tonight (Thursday, April 26) at The Jewish Theatre. Director Rana Weber’s cultural jabs focus on dissecting families in a progressive society. “There’s gay families and straight families, and families with no limbs,” she says. The troupe has taken multiple punches at San Francisco’s quirks and flaws, and many (OK, some) locals are OK laughing at themselves. The troupe’s video “The Coffee Wars” turned the microbrewing trend into a History Channel-esque episode on war between loyalists of different coffeehouses. Another Killing My Lobster viral video presents spending a free day in the city as a Twilight Zone episode — “Why Is Everybody Here?”
The Exhibitionist sat down with Killing My Lobster’s creative director, Andy Alabran, to hear about the hilarity of the troupe’s latest show, its plans to buy its own home, and hosting a very merry Quinceanera.
Tell us about Killing My Lobster Chops Down the Family Tree.
It’s all about families and the dysfunction they are in. You can always find humor in dysfunction. We all have one, in some shape or form. The director, Rana Weber, is taking a political-social slant on [the topic] to make it relevant for our audience. She includes things like Proposition 8 [which prohibits same-sex marriage in California] and polyamorous families to really look beyond the borders of the nuclear family.
What are some skits to look forward to?
The finale is a divorce musical number.
|Lazy teenagers are the blackholes of happy families.|
How is the hunt for your own space coming along?
It continues. The longer we stay alive as a group, the more we realize we should make the commitment to move in together. We exceeded our Kickstarter goal of $15,000, which shows us that there’s the support from the community to say “We too want you to stay and find a place.” We are in the process of talking to a few places right now. The neighborhood around 24th and Mission streets would be ideal because we identify with young people living in and visiting the area, looking for a good time.
What’s special about comedy in San Francisco compared with other cities?
San Franciscans are comfortable with laughing at themselves. We know we live in a city and state that is easy to parody. We’ve had sketches about Oakland and coffee wars — we think, “Oh, what are more things we can exhale about?” Things that someone might be uptight about are things we are ready to make fun of in a second. Any little jabs or tickles that we can laugh about have been really successful — so I sense that is where comedy is going. People in L.A. have a goal — they just want to be seen. They are there for something bigger than just a great comedy night.
|The Mannings are the perfect example of a dysfunctional family.|
Who are some individual comedians to look out for in the future?
Answering this question is like Sophie’s Choice — it’s like picking one child over everyone else. Now I know how Tom Cruise and Britney Spears must feel. Going through the list … actor Calum Grant can embody someone with just his voice. There’s Ally Johnson, who can transform in front of you and it doesn’t matter what gender the character is. Oh and Alison Page, she’s funny too.
What is Killing My Lobster doing for its 15th anniversary?
We’re hosting an annual fundraiser to celebrate a major milestone for us. We’ve only made it this far because our patrons have kept coming back through the ups and downs of an economy. Killing My Lobster is turning 15, so why not have a Quinceanera? We’re aiming for Sept. 14 at the Verdi Club. Discussion is around a taco truck, a flash mob mariachi band on the hour, and definitely dancing.
|After a drink or two or three– classy families can turn trashy.|
Killing My Lobster Chops Down the Family Tree starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26 (and continues through May 13) at The Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida (at Mariposa), S.F. Admission is $10-$22.