There is a dark, sly, and hilarious tone to all the writing in this delightful evening of sketch comedy, which is credited simply to "Dynamite Kablammo" and presumably penned as a collaborative effort. The sketches are unpredictable but always funny, and they tackle taboo subjects from religion to sex. Directed by Greg Kaczynski, the evening is breezy and sparkling, with a comedic fluidity that is lacking in more-traditional comedy ensemble pieces.
The performances are outstanding, and the company works together in seamless harmony. The sketches are, for the most part, quite imaginative. A tough-talking Jesus (Dane Biren) opines on the Last Supper as well as gay marriage. Matt DeNoto and Candida Rodriguez are the ultimate odd couple — Winston and Jacoby — as they toss out weird observations on modern life. Dana DeRuyck is the forlorn girlfriend obsessed by her boyfriend's obsession with strippers.
There are marvelous conceits at work here as well. In "Spit Baby," a demented mother (Rodriguez) warns her teenage daughter (DeRuyck) not to French kiss with her boyfriend for fear of producing a "spit baby." They don't believe her until her real live spit baby (Kaczynski) appears to haunt them. And in a very funny sketch, two "straight men" (the comedy variety, not the heterosexual variety) struggle in vain to come up with a punch line. Another hilarious riff is the inner dialogue of a character with all the voices in his head as he stands in an elevator.
The great appeal of this material is its originality, tone, and point of view. Rather than relying on retread material from media or the headlines, the Zombie Joe company tackles the existential absurdity of life and relationships. You don't need to watch TV or read the newspaper to laugh at these sketches; they seem to pop up as if out of real life. What a funny concept indeed.
Presented by and at ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Thu.-Fri. 8:30 p.m. Aug. 17-Sep. 1. (818) 202-4120.