MARCH 14, 1997 VOLUME 26, NUMBER 23
DROP IS ALL IT TAKES
Oui Be Negroes, At Turnaround Theatre.
Mary Shen Barnidge
has always characterized the work of Shaun Landry and Hans Summers,
founding members of the comedy troupe Oui Be
Negroes. And in their most recent revue, these
two plus Merle Dandridge and Marvin Howard probe the corners of our
culture for satirical humor often overlooked by...or flat-out forbidden
to other comedians.
Sarcastically lamenting her un-stereotypical lifestyle, Dandridge sings"
Don't cry for me, Robert Taylor / The truth is I never lived there / I'm
from Nebraska / What is a chitlin? / I prefer sushi and drive a
Beemer." Howard blusters as a slackerly
adolescent who excuses his own irresponsibility with antiracist
rhetoric. Landry parodies misandrist female poets---but when asked to
improvise on the Cabrini-Green shoot-out conjures a lyric of astonishing
power and sincerity.
The Landry-Summers signature piece, in which an elderly couple reminisce
about the trials of their youth ("They wouldn't let you into that
restaurant...I wanted to beat up the whole lot of them!"), remains
as sweet and timely as when it was first performed.
recent, much ballyhooed Soul Front purported to break with the urban--
white--liberal bias endemic in Improv comedy, but Landry and Summers
have been doing precisely that for nearly a decade.
They be professionals.