With 'TGI Fin de Semana', Stomping Ground Comedy Theater leads with laughter
Updated: Jan 16
TGI Fin de Semana, a new sketch comedy show written and performed by an entirely Hispanic cast, is debuting at Stomping Ground Comedy Theater. I had the pleasure of attending last night.
The first thing I noticed when I got inside the building that houses Stomping Ground was the company's commitment to radical inclusion. The space is decorated with pride flags, beautifully illustrated quotes about comedy, and donor names hung on casual but prominent placards. The space is colorful and open, designed for an audience of any and every demographic to feel at home. You can't help but let your guard down and have fun.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (which spans September 15 to October 15), TGI Fin de Semana celebrates and pokes fun at the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx culture through 9 original, short comedy sketches. Written by Aaron Figueroa, Diane Michelle, Natalia Borja, Luis Lujan, and Tiffani Rodriguez, the sketches included jokes about Mexican food, Hispanic/Latinx music, the Spanish language, religion, Hispanic/Latinx cultural myths, and, of course, Selena.
The performers are Alicia Nava, Carlos Arranz, Diane Michelle, J. Rich Martinez, Natalia Borja, Nicole Romero, Ruben Gary Martinez, and Tiffani Rodriguez. The cast had great chemistry and the sketches so well-rehearsed that the performance moved along seamlessly. I especially enjoyed Spanish Anxiety, a sketch about a support group for people who only speak Spanglish or can't speak Spanish but are in situations where Spanish is the norm. In this sketch, the writers and cast made feeling like an outsider funny. In Mass Class, the sketch parodies Catholicism as a bossy nun hilariously misquotes bible verses and applies religiosity to song lyrics. Doblevision News takes the style of the SNL news desk, complete with guest interviewees, but with a Hispanic focus. This sketch was uproariously witty, and the jokes delivered so smoothly that if you blink, you'll miss the punchlines. Anything for Selenas got a lot of laughs as two game show contestants compete in a 'Fear Factor' style to prove their devotion to the late, iconic pop star. The closing sketch, Latin American Idol rocked both musically and comically and I thought the actress who impersonated Shakira was particularly on point.
Directed by Jacie Hood, TGI Fin de Semana also included satirical commercials. Pre-recorded and projected onto a small surface on the backdrop of the set, these ads were insightful and honest in their parody and included the 'Spanglish Alexa', GOYA brand chicken stock, Vicks Vapor Rub, to name just a few. These commercials acted as scene transitions between each sketch and I thought it was a clever way to keep the audience engaged and laughing.
This show closes tonight - Saturday, October 12th - so grab your favorite craft beer or bottle of wine and get your friends over to Stomping Ground. It's a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday night. It's a refreshing show in that it doesn't require extra brain power or heavy thinking - just show up, have fun, and allow yourself to laugh. And as a company devoted to radical inclusion, this comedy show leads by example.
TGI Fin de Semana has one more show this evening (Saturday, October 12) at 8 pm. For tickets, visit http://stompinggroundcomedy.org.
Stay after tonight's feature show for Stomping Ground's Quest in Show: An Improvised RPG Adventure at 9:30: Dallas's only improvised Role-Playing Game performed live onstage. This show is rated T for Teen/14+. Stomping Ground is BYOB. Seating begins 15 minutes prior to the start of the show.