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Aug182011

BRAD SACKS GETS A HANDJOB @ THE UCBT

Illustration: Ramsey Ess

By: Lucas Hazlett

According to Joseph Campbell's definition of a monomyth, or Hero's Journey, every great narrative -- whether it be a movie, television show, play or novel -- follows the same essential story line. A single character leaves his or her normal way of life after another character compels them to obtain a valuable object or perform an important task.

In Lord of the Rings, Frodo leaves the shire after Gandalf compels him to destroy the One Ring. In Star Wars, Luke leaves Tatooine after Obi Wan compels him to rescue Princess Leia. And in The Matrix, Neo leaves the matrix after Morpheus compels him to save mankind by defeating the machines.

In Brad Sacks Gets a Hand Job, writers Adam Levy and Connor Izzett deftly utilize the same basic story structure. A nerdy kid leaves behind nerdy pursuits after a friend tells him that a girl wants to give him a hand job. By inserting lowbrow sexual specifics and wackadoo characters into a tried and true structure, they come away with a show that is narratively satisfying, ridiculously funny and could probably serve them better as a full-length feature film. For all intents and purposes, they make a hand job seem like it's going to save the world.

Brad Sacks (Tim Dunn) is a nerdy high school freshman who spends his days breaking into song, dancing and being "sick" at Magic the Gathering. He gives this all up after his friend Megan (Abra Tabak) reveals that Jessica Sanders (Emily Axford), the "hottest girl in school," wants to give him a hand job. With the help of his best friend Jake (Michael Hartney), who repeatedly hits the nail on the head with dramatic audience addresses comparing Brad's journey to Frodo's journey, Brad sets off to prepare for his date with destiny. Along the way he is repeatedly disrupted by the misguided interference of his sexually adventurous parents Gerald and Suzane (Matt Fisher and Beth Appel, who also directed the piece) and the horrible advice of his older, Jersey Shore-esque brother Dan (Dan Black).

Like most journeys, Brad overcomes these obstacles to claim his prize, but unlike Frodo's destroying the ring or Neo's defeating the race of machines, the prize Brad claims in the end is nothing like what he thought he'd get at the beginning.

--Lucas Hazlett is a comedy geek who improvises with anyone he can. He can be seen performing at The Peoples Improv Theater every Wednesday at 8PM with house team Stranger.

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