Trained at NYU comedy groups Dangerbox and Hammerkatz, the members of the improv troupe Gentlemen Party are making their mark on modern art. The Museum of Modern Art hosted a show in conjunction with their exhibit on Gilbert & George, the ‘70s art duo known for focusing the artistic lens from the artist to the audience. Gilbert & George merge life and art together in real-life sculptures, in which the two artists stand still in imitation of statues. The exhibit, which runs until Sept. 27 at MoMA features their postal sculptures, magazine sculptures, charcoal on paper sculptures, drinking sculptures and video sculptures. The PopRally event featured a showcase by the popular improvisational comedy group Gentlemen Party. In conjunction with the comedy group, the event was disk jockeyed by the Gilbert and George-inspired duo AndrewAndrew, whose setlist brought nostalgia and irony in the form of ‘80s pop hits blended into modern musical styles. Their show goes beyond just music, incorporating aspects of performance art. They would stroll the event with a microphone and comment on various people and relationships. This form of artistic expression may not necessarily contain a statement, but simply brings joy and leaves the viewer thinking creatively and asking questions.
The sketch portion of the show included cast members singing fish to sleep and using corpses as puppets. Throughout the act, Gentlemen Party kept the crowd’s attention with choreographed music and dancing, employing a wide range of performative acts.
The most impressive portion of the show was the group’s almost telepathic improv. Gentlemen Party expertly captures the building feeling of audience excitement from their quick wit and rapid fire jokes. Their performance was like a lightning storm: thrilling and dangerous, yet mesmerizing.
Unlike most modern groups, their material seems fresh and their enthusiasm is channeled into their work. Playing off missteps and technical difficulties, they always say yes and squeeze every ounce of humor out of each situation.
Gentlemen Party is playing at the People’s Improv Theater on Sept. 19 and 26.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 14 print issue. Email Ryan Matera at [email protected]