A video introducing Shannon O'Neill's one-woman show warns that, among the thoughts that may enter your brain, are "deviant," "sexy" and "why did I find that sexy?" True, true, true on all counts. How does "Prison Freaks: A Talent Show" manage to be deviant, sexy and above all else, so funny? And how did it take O'Neill so long to develop her first one-woman show?
O'Neill has been a regular at the UCB Theatre for the past decade — currently performing Friday nights with improv all-star team, The Stepfathers, Sundays in ASSSSCAT 3000, and monthly in The Chris Gethard Show, as well as with Thunder Gulch. She also tours with the UCB Touring Co., and if you remember Optimist International, Mailer Daemon and fwand, then perhaps you remember O'Neill there, too.
For "Prison Freaks," she has gathered four of her deviant characters for the titular talent show at the Charlie Sheen Prison for the Criminally Retarded. We get to meet Brenda, who plays the keyboards and loves mustaches so much she'll rape and kill you for it, then wear it herself. There's Poly, who shows us that rhythm is a dancer who also knows her serial-killer facts. Educational! Dinkle Toots is a stand-up comedian who has 33 eyeballs on his face and a killer catchphrase: "You just got Dinkled!" And then there's Howard Defendorfer, who draws caricatures and shows off O'Neill's amazing ability to improvise through crowd work (not to mention hideous masks).
Any one of these four freaks could fare fairly well in any talent show. That all four of these come from the same comedic mind and body is truly freaky. And laugh-out-loud funny.
See Shannon O'Neill in Prison Freaks: A Talent Show. Directed by Will Hines, with computer graphics from Matt Mayer. Upcoming shows at the UCB Theatre in NYC: March 8 and March 29.
Here's a clip of Brenda and her mustache song.