I knew I was probably in for a hilarious evening after my cab driver decided to sing his epic rap-beat poetry discourse on the human condition to me (loudly) as he tore down 9th Avenue to get me to New World Stages on time to see One Funny Mother. I was still turning his intelligent rhymes over in my head as I barreled into the theater. As I sat down in a full auditorium buzzing with opening night fever, I felt that I had walked into a truly joyful environment. On two side screens, some of Dena Blizzards YouTube mini masterpieces of being a mom were playing. When the two ladies seated to my left started singing along to “It’s Raining Men,” I realized I was in a room full of infectious fun. My only wish was that I had brought a posse of my best girl friends along with me. But I will be going back!
. . . infectious fun. . .I barked like a Central Park Zoo Sea Lion at feeding time.
Dena Blizzard wears many gigantic hats. She’s a mother, a wife, a comedian, a television host, and a 1995 Miss America Pageant finalist and …my new best friend. Well, that is exactly how she made me feel.
Yes, the show’s theme is about the trials of motherhood but that is just the trampoline for her to jump freely into a million clever observations about absolutely everything. She had me at “hello!” I was rocking in my seat as my laughter bounced me backwards and forwards as I barked like a Central Park Zoo Sea Lion at feeding time. As I looked around me, similar displays of violent backrest abuse erupted in waves in response to Dena’s wit. I felt I was at one of my best friends houses in a state of heightened banter before heading off on a girl’s night out. You know that funny friend of yours, the one that can really make you “ugly laugh” and make the wine come out your nose kinda funny? That’s Dena.
I never felt for a moment that she was delivering a script. The stories poured out of her with such ease and believability I felt like I had known her all my life. She wasn’t playing for laughs it was just that everything she said was drenched in truth and so every last person in the room could relate to her stories immediately. You couldn’t believe that she was actually using her “out loud” voice when she shared things that you thought only lived hidden in your head. It was freeing and entirely fabulous.
The show has been cleverly created with video interludes that serve as a commentary on the situations she has shared. A host of men and women give their opinions on a series of chortling inducing questions. You could see that these friends felt so relaxed with Dena that they shared their eccentricities and quirks without hesitation on camera and in doing so made for some knee slapping comedy. They are her support cast, her everyman or woman, her domestic blisters chorus.
It might seem that I am only proposing this as a show for the girls but the men were out in full force too, trumpeting along to all of her inclusive humor. She has a stunning section of audience interaction that is priceless and playful. Everyone just wanted to join in…because they thought she was their best friend too.
So after I hung out with my very entertaining “bestie” for 80 Minutes, I really didn’t want to leave. We had talked about everything from the kids, to the husband, to our mothers, to our shortcomings over a few glasses of Cabernet Franc, and it was time to head back to our own domestic demons. But her show ends on a gentle note of heartfelt, loving positivity. When you leave the theater, there she is already standing ready to engage with all of her new friends in the foyer.
It might have been the big Bernie and Hilary debate in NYC on her opening night but Dena won every round for me.
Running time: 80 minutes without intermission
Advisory: May be inappropriate for children 16 and younger.
One Funny Mother has been extended through September 3, 2016 at New World Stages in New York City. For more information, click here.