Lost Moon Radio is three fringe shows in one:
• A rock band doing comedy songs and parodies;
• A crack five-person comedy troupe;
• A touching yet comedic relationship drama between this live series’ recurring character Jupiter Jack and—huh?—rock legend Ann Wilson of Heart.
In two years, the Lost Moon Radio troupe which writes and performs the Lost Moon Radio revue has developed ten different hour-long “episodes,” each with its own theme. This one concerns “Travel,” and the comedy’s both grounded and far-fetched.
The setting is the Orange County Fair, and Jack’s patter is brought to you by “KXOJ Radio—The Juice!” Surly, self-reflective DJ Jupiter Jack (a conscious attempt by the Lost Moon company to create a Garrison Keilloresque master of ceremonies character for the indie-comedy generation) announces the show’s myriad live songs and comedy bits as if they were tracks on his radio show: “That was ‘Why Does This Camp Exist?’ by The Juvenile Victims of Scarecrow Bill.’”
The commercial breaks include ads for “Confectioners Without Borders—Delivering decadent morsels to the most vulnerable among us” and a Girls Gone Wild video directed by Werner Herzog.
Even when comic concepts seem on the obvious side, the writing and performances often elevate them. Anyone who’s a sucker for songs about New York will be on the floor when cast member Dan Mahoney breaks into a Big Apple anthem in which every landmark mentioned is a national chain (“The Starbucks on 34th and 7th! The Starbucks on 34th and 8th!”). Lauren Flans’ streetwise rap about “Wine Coutnry” is a showstopper, with snarling rhymes about going for “a ride in my Maserati, because we’re about to kick it like Paul Giamatti. Having a full band backing up the comedians helps, and not because they avail themselves of vaudevillian rimshots. Despite the easy comparisons to A Prairie Home Companion, Lost Moon Radio is a high energy endeavor.
This is one industrious 11-person ensemble, so self-assured and fully staffed and in synch that Lost Moon Radio exists on a separate plane from the many seat-of-their-pants frolics elsewhere at the Hollywood Fringe. The professionalism would almost be off-putting, if the performers weren’t so intent on entertaining you, and on impressing each other. Whether grinning when a colleague nails a line or rocking out with the band, this is an ingratiating bunch.
The players are even apologetic about having to strike their set. “If we run around like nutcases right after we’re done,” they announced at the start of Sunday’s presentation, “it’s not because we don’t love you. It’s because we have to break it down crazily fast.”
Luckily, they have that whole crazily fast nutcase thing down to a science, both after and during this frantic, fetchingly funny revue.
Lost Moon Radio. June 23-25. Hollywood Fringe.