Sunday, October 2, 2011

Authentic John Leguizamo

I had the pleasure of seeing John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown tonight at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. I -could- not- stop- laughing. From start to finish, it was comedy but not the slapstick comedy criticizing things he observes about the outside world as most comedians do (think Seinfeld). It was John looking at himself, his internal struggle with life (as we can all relate), in a very open and honest way. As a fan of his films, I loved his imitations of Al Pachino, Patrick Swayze, and Steven Segal. To Wong Foo was just on last night so I stayed up to watch. He made such a good-looking woman that his best friend hit on him thinking he was a real Cha Cha from the hood.
He talked about landing his first tv role as a Colombian drug lord in Miami Vice, getting slapped around by Sean Penn, his first love, his daddy issues-and boy does he have daddy issues-, and the loving advice from his wise grandfather. Spot on imitations, and his fun and funky period dances (70s, 80s, 90s) take the audience back to those relateable moments in time that we've all lived.
What struck me most about his performance is that it wasn't a performance. It was John telling the story of his life, as natural and unscripted a scripted performance can be. It's his life disguised as a play--- John's therapy session with a few hundred people. Never once do you think you are watching an actor. You are watching a friend reenact his experiences ---who just happens to do a great Pachino imitation and has fantastic set designer friends. He did have one Seinfeld moment I must confess. "Why isn't phonetically spelled phonetically?" he asks, but it related seamlessly to his real-life struggle as he hit rock bottom, lost his best friend, realized he was still broke despite his fame, and used all of that as inspiration to write his plays. It seems he may have come to terms with it all---his career, family life (despite his dad suing him), and personal demons ----but after all the struggles, it makes one wonder if he's learned anything from them and is finally getting paid properly for this performance.

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