Hollywood Fringe 2019
In Two Girls, One Mic, two Los Angeles-based comics ruminate on dating, the pitfalls of trying to make it in Hollywood and the raw deal of being a woman in general. A show of few frills, this duo keeps the audience engaged with their high energy, laugh-filled act.
I’m normally loathe to use the term “female comic” given that I’ve rarely heard the “male comic” counterpart used, but Two Girls, One Mic gleefully showcases two such performers who draw from their uniquely female experiences in Los Angeles to entertain the audience.
While differing in age, height and years in L.A. (tall, early 20s, L.A. native vs. petite, 30s, L.A. transplant) Tabitha Brownstone and Joy Gohring are united by their similar wry world-weariness over both life in entertainment industry and the dating scene. While these are certainly well-worn tropes of standup, Brownstone and Gohring still offer their unique takes that keep the audience consistently laughing throughout. Brownstone opens the act by embodying “Edith,” a classic manager-agent stereotype who lectures the audience about what it takes to be a star in Hollywood– and how, quite clearly, no one there is star material. Edith is hilarious, and Brownstone’s crowd work is flawless– when taking questions, she always had the perfect quip or comeback, and her interactions with latecomers and random unexpected interruptions was so on point it felt like it could have been scripted. I only wished perhaps we could have seen more of this kind of satirical commentary, though with just an hour, the rest of the show had only enough time for the two to perform their standup sets as themselves. (As a little side note, it’s a very no-frills set up, but the two use it to their advantage rather pretending not to notice. There is something particularly charming about the fact that they’re their own tech, Brownstone playing sound cues off her phone in full view of the audience with none of the usual man-behind-the-curtain artifice.)
Both Gohring and Brownstone are capable and confident onstage, with their own individual styles. Gohring pulls largely from her experiences abroad after a breakup, commenting on age, beauty, and relationships through a series of misadventures, including one where she winds up in the L.A. County jail. She’s great with characters, and leans into broad impressions, from the Spanish captain of a snorkeling ship to an Australian audience member she mirrored, taking inspiration from her cat (I won’t go into it further or it’ll spoil the joke, but it’s pretty great.) Brownstone’s comedy, like Edith, stays close to home and produces a litany of astonishing and quintessential Angeleno stories that only a local late-Millenial/Gen Zer could provide, from working a “hot girl in the office” job to dating older men who might accidentally know her parents to being the granddaugher of the guy who sold Guns and Roses heroin.
While already entertaining, this show will only continue to improve with repetition as jokes get trimmed and timing gets tightened. I certainly believe many will find this thoroughly enjoyable, though I would personally prefer a touch more edge or commentary from my comedy. Furthermore, while the two definitely pull off the charm a title like “Two Girls, One Mic” demands, there’s something a little outmoded about this moniker that may put some off… both the dated reference to the 2007 viral scat video and the idea that in today’s general zeitgeist these women are still gleefully referring to themselves as girls. These small things aside, the only real downside of the show was that it let out five minutes late, which normally is fine, but for Fringe is a big no-no. (This is especially bad since they held the door for five minutes, so it certainly didn’t have to happen.) So anyone with a tight schedule should be aware that might occur.
These things aside, I found the hour to be enjoyable, and if the uproarious laughter from those behind me is any indication, so did the rest of the audience. If you’re looking to laugh, this is a good show to see.