Drawing on a variety of current themes and issues, the Groundlings shine in their newest show that, following a Groundlings tradition, has nothing to do with the title. Featuring strong comedic writing, the sketches also incorporate music, including Womanisms, a song about (f)e-mails women forward to each other, Rockstar, in which a man is trying to write a jingle for an energy drink, and Trade School Musical, a parody of trade school commercials set to familiar pop tunes. While there is nary a flop in the bunch, the highlights of the show, Love and Taste Test, both feature Melissa McCarthy, who leaves the audience roaring with laughter. McCarthy is never afraid to make a fool of herself, and her uproarious style, reminiscent of the late Chris Farley, makes it impossible for us to keep a straight face. Jeremy Rowley, Alex Staggs, Annie Sertich, and Kevin Kirkpatrick also give memorable performances. Director Karen Maruyama, who orchestrates a couple of improv sketches during the show, keeps the evening moving at a brisk pace, never letting the audience settle into apathy . She is aided by the always-lively Groundlings band, which made transitions entertaining with musical selections that match the themes of the sketches.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 p.m. Starts: Feb. 22. Continues through April 19, 2008