Mortal Antics: JAKE THE HUMAN Comedy Special
Under a sorbet-colored sky in August, Jake Woodmansee rests an open palm against a black door that leads to the stage of Studio 3, listening for his name as the MC energizes the audience by conducting them in a chorus of Bohemian Rhapsody. This is Woodmansee's first dare of the evening. "I bet you can't make the crowd sing along to the same song", he challenged MC Dustin Riley. After a few lyrics are sung by all, he enters from the front door of the set. The stage contains white picket fencing below, blue shutters above, and this front door creates the feeling of an intimate gathering being hosted in your neighbor's front yard. People cheer as he walks on, the volume increasing with every punch line, and an occasional snort is emitted over another off-the-cuff comeback, he is never depleted of. Laughter is expelled throughout the venue, breaking only for moments of ardent applause. He exclaims that while attending his show the most important pronoun we can use is "human", referring to the name of his special but also to an identity we admittedly negate, or accept to see in ourselves very often.
After being thanked generously for their attendance, and sworn in with the recited vows of "If I am offended during this show, it is my own fault", the crowd lifts their drinks in unison into the glare of the stage lighting as Woodmansee guzzles down a huckleberry-cider, quickly proceeding with a long list of outlandish tales from his 40-something years of life experience: crashing his sister’s prom by pretending to be piles of clothing in the back seat of her car to scare her date, using an app to manage his back pain that resulted from drunk-driver encounters, and almost accidentally getting kidnapped by Russian Pirates off the coast of Alaska are just the genesis to this 3-day comedy special of Jake the Human.
The crowd is washed in blue light as Jake creates impromptu characters such as one who energetically preaches sermons in a thunderous fashion. Steven Whitney acts as the humble keyboardist, playing impassioned hymns as Jake commands the room from his altar of theatrics. No set of topics is incongruous to Jake's imagination, creating a memorable soundtrack gyrating through the halls of Open Space. Woodmansee proved to be a local talent, garnering a room full of laughter, commanding the audience's attention closely over the span of three very different shows, each filmed for distribution. His silver-lining perspective on life was shared amongst a room filled by smiling faces, belonging to all ages. Each ticket holder was captivated by a hilarious performance, but more importantly given the space to openly inspect the idiosyncrasies of our culture, and jovially remark upon its influx of quirky trends. After the shows had been completed, a closing ritual had been established. Each night brought the same occasion; people left their seats as audience members and met the comic with hugs as friends, delighting in three evenings of different content, all dedicated to the same goals: to stop the collective racing thoughts, to provide us three days of respite from the gloom of sad news, and to leave a lasting impression on all of us, that life is not meant to be lived only seriously.