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Originally published Saturday, October 15, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Comedy review

Drew Carey, funny friends open Seattle Comedy Festival

With seven comedians onstage, the show was supposed to be all about their improv talents, and each did have moments of comic inspiration...

Seattle Times music critic

With seven comedians onstage, the show was supposed to be all about their improv talents, and each did have moments of comic inspiration. But Drew Carey and the Improv Allstars were almost upstaged by a little kid from the audience and the one thing that's always good for a laugh — somebody else's pain.

The little kid was one of several volunteers pulled from the audience. He was to supply sound effects for cleaning machines and he screeched so shrilly — a glass-shattering scream — that several of the comedians fell off their chairs. The cute kid took full advantage of his moment, milking the bit for laughs like a pro.


Drew Carey & the Improv Allstars, Thursday at the Paramount Theatre

The pain came in the last routine, when Carey and Jeff Davis, one of the Allstars, had to act out an argument while walking over 100 mousetraps, blindfolded and barefoot. Their shrieks of agony as the mousetraps snapped, as well as those of the other comedians who put traps in their way and sometimes got hurt themselves, brought the house down.

That was at the first of two shows that opened the Seattle Comedy Festival Thursday night at the Paramount. The festival continues with six shows of stand-up comedians, playing the Moore Theatre through Oct. 28.

Getting Carey to launch the series was a coup because his improv-based TV show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?," now in syndication, was a big hit. The Improv Allstars are veterans of that show, or from "Drew Carey's Green Screen Show," his new Comedy Central program. Even Laura Hall, who provided the music for "Anyway?," was at the Paramount.

The show was like "Anyway?" with swear words and dirty bits. Carey opened with a stand-up routine, riffing about airlines, Starbucks, Oprah, Paris Hilton and other surefire topics. Then the other six comedians — Davis, Kathy Kinney, Greg Proops, Chip Esten, Sean Masterson and Jonathan Mangum — paraded out.

Some of the bits, like the opening "moving bodies," didn't work, but most did, especially the "opera" Esten and Mangum sang to an audience member who had the perfect name for rhyming, Vilda. Davis mistook the Mariners for a football team, and took flak for it all night. Proops was especially clever in a "Jeopardy" bit involving the audience. The quickest wit belonged to Masterson, whose asides and physical bits were fast and funny.

For the rest of the festival's schedule, go to

Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312 or

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