Th [sic] Sense in 3D Fosters a Warm, Disgusting Sense of Community

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I sometimes like to use the word "fearless" about a performance, and it may not always mean that much to you, the audience member. But it means a lot when you go to see Th [sic] Sense sketch comedy troupe, because all of them are fearless, and it's what makes you laugh at things you'd otherwise find stupid, repulsive, wildly inappropriate, or all three.

It means they've got each other's backs, unlike Warren Buffet and the gecko in that Geico commercial. It means not just that they'll do anything, anything to make the funny, but that they've done it before and worked out and practiced and made it their own.

It means they graciously share the stage, from the lanky and uncanny Kristie Cowles as a cat in heat screaming "Fuck, fuck, fuck!" in an inarticulate triumph of horniness or as a date from SpecialDate.com who really is special, in all her crayon-eating, restraint-needing glory, to Jo Anna Larson scampering up and down the aisle of Soul Invictus as the telltale "glove compartment" troll of a fairy who just can't admit he's a fairy (the winged kind) to the kickass, genuinely dulcet vocal stylings of Bronwyn Schile and Dion Foreman [correction: it was Bill Dyer, not Dion Foreman) at the opening of the oughta-be megahit song "We Are BP" to the cast of the Gospel-based game show, Cross or No Cross?, a sketch so beloved by old fans that the mere appearance of the costume robes in the darkness between scenes got the screams and applause going -- you'd think just one of those characters would drown out the rest of an ensemble, but they don't.

Speaking of fans, the space was packed to the gills with the human kind and bravely resisting last weekend's weather with the oscillating kind. It was more comfortable than back in June for FrogWoman (some of whose stars are here and just keep getting better), and it should be even nicer this weekend, if you can get in.

Th [sic] Sense is not a new sketch troupe but did lay low, with a little uncertainty about their venue and its administration, during the worst part of this summer's heat. Soul Invictus is back to a full production schedule, however, and, in fact, will be welcoming a late-night variety-style burlesque group as a new resident company.

I had a strong opinion this time around that the material itself wasn't as sharp, overall, as the first time I saw Th [sic] Sense. Like Saturday Night Live sketches, these pearls frequently don't have real endings or punch lines. But the ideas themselves are fresh as a kitchen garden, and there's nothing like being just a few feet away from these disciplined yet untamed comic virtuosos. It makes you feel all life-affirmed and dirty and bad at the same time, even though I was presented with no genitalia at all and much more creative "scary vagina" jokes on this visit.

Th [sic] Sense in 3D continues through Saturday, September 25, at Soul Invictus, 1030 Grand Avenue. Tickets are $15 here or at the door. Not for unaccompanied minors or the "easily offended," who should, in the parting words of founder Franc Gaxiola's curtain speech (in which he's joined by the entire audience), "Get the fuck out!"

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