On Friday night, a crowd packed into the Shubin Theatre to watch long-running sketch duo Meg & Rob perform what they’ve titled their last show. It was the first of three performances of the last show together before Meg Favreau moves to Los Angeles next month. She and Rob Baniewicz have been such a fixture on the Philly comedy scene for the past five years that it is not only sad to see her go, but sad that the two will no longer work together. But Meg and Rob acknowledge the schmaltziness of a goodbye show and handle it with their usual degree of darkness.
The two came to the stage out front to introduce the show and to announce their openers that they’ve chosen to feature on their final shows. Three different acts will take the stage before Meg & Rob on each show — some of the duo’s favorite performers in the city. Up first on Friday was Doogie Horner of America’s Got Talent fame and this lengthy article in Philadelphia Magazine. Horner warmed up the crowd by making fun of the departing Meg and then segueing into his off-kilter one liners and observations.
Improv group BWP (Bitches With Problems) was up next, featuring Liz Scott and Ali Soowal as Connie and Connie, a couple of South Philly girls with an abundance of grievances. Seated their whole set, the pair is so keyed into one another and the banter is so rapid-fire — completely natural and hilarious — that they need not get up at all. At one point their discussion spiraled to Sigourney Weaver‘s Aliens co-star, but showing as much expertise on the subject as any couple of middle-aged women from South Philly.
Camp Woods was the third act on Friday, a newer sketch group who really came into their own on this show. Their style has become clearly defined, marked by absurd flights of fantasy. Camp Wood is over the top, for sure, but they are always surprising and fun. Dark for sure, but more silly.
Finally, Meg and Rob took the stage for a half-hour show of video and live sketches; a fitting farewell to the group. A throughline during the show were the Goal-Oriented Eagle videos, so subtle and specific. And so funny one on top of the other. The absolute specificity in the writing of Meg & Rob sketches is amazing. Where Camp Woods is hilarious in the absolute madcap absurdity — Meg & Rob’s strength is that, even verging to the absurd, they always (well, usually) stay grounded. There’s always that humanity and emphasis on human relationships, even in their silliest sketches.
Not only do they have a great energy together and play off one another brilliantly, Baniewicz and Favreau are really versatile actors and they create opportunities for themselves in their writing by the range of characters and emotions they’re each able to play. Sketch actors can be notoriously one-note, but Meg & Rob can do it all.
Meg & Rob’s last show might also be their best. See it before it’s too late.
Quality, Value, Convenience:
Meg & Rob’s Last Show
Friday, March 4th and Saturday, March 5th at 8PM
Philly Improv Theater at the Shubin Theater
Philly Improv Theater for details