Best Friends Forever

I can’t recall the last time a thirty minute piece received the kind hype that Jen & Angie has. Jen and Angie were recently featured in a big story on Pagesix.com, and they’re not even real. Let me explain. Jen & Angie is the latest long-form sketch by the renowned comedy and improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade. UCB has launched or shaped the careers of several well-known comedians, including Saturday Night Live veterans Horatio Sanz and Amy Poehler. The place is crawling with talented and hard-working comics whose greatest dream is that Lorne Michaels will show up in the audience and pluck them from obscurity. At its theater on the northern edge of Chelsea, UCB showcases an often dizzying array of nightly offerings, presented on a schedule almost military in nature. It’s not uncommon to see a long line of patrons standing in the frigid cold on West 26th Street at 9:00 p.m., patiently waiting for those inside to vacate the 7:30 show. This scenario repeats itself throughout the night. If you have to wait on line, Jen & Angie will be worth it.

The sketch goes like this. Somehow, Brad Pitt (played by a mannequin), Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston find themselves on the same ill-fated airline flight to Antigua. After losing an engine, the plane goes down on a deserted island. Miraculously, there are three completely intact survivors - guess who they are.

Because Brad remains in a persistent vegetative state due to the spell under which Angelina has placed him (and because he’s a mannequin), it all comes down to Jen and Angie, mano a mano. Christina Casa is hilarious as a Morticia-like Jolie and Sara Chase has nailed Aniston’s mannerisms and sugary sweetheart qualities. Jen sings the Friends song, replete with claps, when things become too much for her. Angie, for her part, is oblivious to the festering hatred that Aniston harbors for her.

Together, they are forced to hunt the island’s wildlife for survival. The island becomes the perfect vehicle to send up Jolie’s purportedly exotic lifestyle, and Ms. Casa squeezes out lots of laughs with her aloof and clueless affectations. When a hungry but squeamish Aniston asks a feasting Jolie how a marmot tastes, Angie replies, “It is great. It tastes like condor.” Angie never misses an opportunity to taunt Jen with her motherhood. Because of her endless quest to adopt the planet’s children, Angie can’t even remember the name of her biological child, referring to it as “the white one.”

Obviously, co-writers Casa and Laura Buchholz follow the tabloids. But, you don’t have to be up on the latest Hollywood gossip to enjoy Jen & Angie. If you go, the sketch will be teamed up with another UCB show to provide a good ninety minutes of laughs. The night I went, it was paired with Seven Fights, an entertaining collection of skits by Will Hines and the animated Matthew DeCoster, whose physical brand of ridiculous comedy reminds one of Seinfeld’s Cosmo Kramer.

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