PHOTO BY BRIANA AUGUSTUS
Bob Murrell as Mayor Mitch Landrieu in Big Easy Live.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu sings his version of “My Way” in the cold open, segueing into hammed-up filmed introductions with a booming Don Pardo-esque voiceover, and a monologue from a celebrity host. It’s a formula audiences have seen before, but in Big Easy Live
’s hands, it’s both an homage to and satirical stab at Saturday Night Live
, with an unabashedly provincial take on the late-night sketch comedy format.
The new quarterly live sketch comedy show returns for its final 2017 episode
at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16 at Hi-Ho Lounge. Tickets are $10. Local actor and comedian Lynae LeBlanc is the host.
The show’s cast and writers pair veteran actors from the city’s theater scene with stand-up comedians scratching a sketch comedy itch — this episode features Khiry Armstead, Lauren Malara, Elyse McDaniel, Abbey P. Murrell, Bob Murrell and Eli Timm, joined by A.J. Allegra, Michael Hall, Kayln Hepting, Nick Stephens and Alex Wallace.
“There’s these funny, talented people who stick to theater and don’t go to other forms of comedy,” says actor and comedian Bob Murrell. “I pitched the idea of ‘hey, why don’t we do a sketch show.’”
The show, formerly Sketch in the City
and rebranded as Big Easy Live
, is “pushing hard to bring out the local references, things to satirize,” Murrell says. “What works is everyone’s a very seasoned actor. They’re quick to make strong choices based on the scripts we have.”
In the weeks leading up to each show, the cast and writers hold a stretched-out version of SNL
’s famously breakneck weeklong production schedule, from collaborative pitch meetings with the host to multiple drafts and edits and a table read. Its holiday episode includes the debut of "Yat Chat" (“like 'Coffee Talk' in Chalmette”), a Ronnie LaMarque Christmas commercial, and an Allegra-penned high-stakes holiday dinner sketch.
The show also adds filmed segments, musical elements and a roster of recurring characters, pulling out “crazy ideas crazy characters,” Murrell says. “Not outlandish, but different.”
Big Easy Live
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16
, 2239 St. Claude Ave.