Upstairs at Downey’s Irish Pub an eclectic group of about 60 members crowded around small bar tables supporting $10 buckets of beer. As the lights dimmed, the chatter faded into a palpable anticipation.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the bar is OPEN!” shouted the redheaded comedian on stage. So began Bye Bye Liver, a one–of–a–kind drink
ing show where alcohol serves as the subject of every joke and the audience is encouraged to knock back a few as they watch.
A sort of hybrid stand–up comedy show, including sketches that cover such topics as how to vomit in public and the inexplicable phenomenon of female bathroom entourages, the show offers a number of opportunities for audience interaction. Actors engage the crowd with drinkinggames like Name That Tune, Matchmaker and Would You Rather. While the comedic performances were enthusiastically received, a fact attributable to talented actors, well–scripted sketches and, of course, pints of beer, these moments of audience interaction stole the show.
The audience belted the lyrics to classics like “Don’t Stop Believing” during Name That Tune and cheered wildly when an actress jumped off the stage to ask a man in the audience, “Would you rather… have a tattoo of your dick on your forehead or a tattoo of your mom on your dick?”
All of the actors embodied a perfect level of aggression, singling out members of the crowd without making anyone feel uncomfortable. Sometimes the audience was almost as entertaining as the show itself — take the middle–aged blondes at the table next to mine who graciously provided immediate neighbors with their own slurred commentary.
As creator Byron Hatfield said, “The idea of drinking and comedy is as old as time,” dating back to the good ol’ Shakespearean days. Bye Bye Liver updates this age old concept by presenting a not–so–sober audience with alcohol–related humor, an infallible recipe for a quality Saturday night. As the first comedian promised, “You’re gunna leave here with a nice buzz and some awesome memories.” She didn’t disappoint — Bye Bye Liver is outrageous, funny and embarrassingly relatable. I’ll drink to that.
Bye Bye Liver Downey's Irish Pub 526 S. Front St. Saturdays, 9 p.m., $15 (800) 650–6449 or byebyeliver.com Age 21+