Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally stormed onto the Irvine Barclay Theatre stage Saturday night for their sold out show “Summer of 69: No Apostrophe.” Offerman, who starred in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” alongside Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt and his wife, Megan Mullally, two time Emmy winner for her role in “Will & Grace,” showcased their musical and comedic talents in an unforgettable show. With a combination of raunchy tunes, sweet moments and hilarious comedy, the show was a 75 minute ode to their “Hollywood” relationship.
The show was filmed for future TV broadcast so large cameras were placed all around the auditorium to catch the audience’s laughter. Before the show began, the stage manager asked the audience to participate in different levels of cheering, presumably so laugh tracks and applause can be dubbed in later for the television special (even though it was unnecessary considering most of the audience was crying from laughter for a majority of the show). Offerman and Mullally made fun of the strange request at the beginning of the show making it less weird and once again proving they don’t take themselves too seriously.
It’s hard to describe the show, or experience, is perhaps a better word for it. The performance started with Offerman carrying his wife piggy back style onto the stage where they promptly picked up their instruments — a guitar for Offerman and a ukelele for Mullally and began singing about oral sex. The rest of the show went on like that: a combination of bizarre and explicit mixed with genuinely sweet moments between the two. They poked fun at celebrities, from Bruce Willis being sterile to Mario Lopez having no genitals. They revealed facts about themselves that “no one else knows” like Offerman’s experimentation with hallucinogens and Mullally’s first boyfriend is now married to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. There’s no doubt in anyone’s minds that Offerman and Mullally were made for each other. And that’s what makes the show so good. Underneath all the weirdness, it was two talented and extremely funny people talking about how much they love each other (and how much people need to be having more sex).
Most of the show was scripted, but the best moments were obviously improvised. Their interactions with the audience and genuine reactions to uncontrollable circumstances like a mic falling off or accidentally starting a song off in the wrong key showcased their wit and good nature. They’re the type of couple you’d actually want at a dinner party.
Unfortunately, because it was scripted, the teleprompter was placed on the side of the auditorium in plain view which quickly became a distraction. I became obsessed with checking the prompter to see which jokes were written in and which were improvised. And I was slightly disappointed by how much of it was exactly as it was written. It also caused me to read ahead, ruining the joke for myself. The show has been touring awhile, so it’s understandable that it would need to be scripted, but it was surprising how much Offerman and Mullally read directly off the teleprompter considering they had performed the show so many times. However, some of the songs were hard to understand, whether it was because of a poor sound system or a lack of enunciation on the part of the performers was unclear. An unintentional perk of having the teleprompter so visible was that it allowed audience members to catch lyrics they would have otherwise missed.
Overall, the show was one of the best acts I’ve seen in awhile. Their clear admiration for each other and ability to make a successful show around it is a fresh take on comedic musical shows.