Charles at the Ballard Underground: A Cavalcade of (Funny) Talking Noises

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Seattle sketch comedy duo, Charles, performing through September 2nd at the Ballard Underground

So you know that cute,slightly disheveled professor you had a crush on in college? That would be Charles times two. The sketch duo, which derives its name from both of the members’ first names, is that smart, funny hybrid I look for in a man–I mean sketch comedy duo.

The two Charleses, Seattle native Chuck Armstrong and Baltimore transplant Charlie Stockman, met as students at Stanford in 2006. Both comedy writers, Chuck for The Onion and Charlie editor-in-chief of the Stanford humor magazine The Chaparral, started doing a weekly web series called “Seattle Untimely.”

Soon after, they were asked to perform at friend Megan Hescock’s show “Sketchprov.” What they didn’t realize was that she wanted them to do a live show and not show videos. Thus the current incarnation of Charles as a sketch comedy duo was born, much to my and your (impending) delight.

Even before these two take the stage, you can tell you are in for a nerdy good time. Case in point: their current show “A Cavalcade of Talk Noises” opens with the star of their last show, Billy Bass (that wonderfully tacky singing fish made popular by your grandpa in the early 90’s) speaking to the audience–not singing the pre-programmed song “Take me to The River,” but complete sentences. You see Billy has been hacked.

Charlie Stockman, the hacker, explained to me the codes that he used to do so, and bless him, he thought I’d understand it, and I almost did. The nerdiness also comes through with the subject matter as in a past show where they addressed the possible “inside jokes” to be found in Beowulf or the vagaries of quantum physics and the space time continuum. These jokes sometimes threaten to go over your head–but end up merely grazing it.

This time through, the sketches are even sillier and extremely funny; themes include a clueless Clue-like sketch, another about an incompetent assassin and one about the inconveniences of space.

Charles also recently took home the prize for Best Writing and Best Sketch Comedy at the 2012 LA Comedy Festival. Not too shabby.

Tonight at 8:00p.m.; Saturday September 1 at midnight, Sunday September 8 at 8:00p.m. // Seattle Sketch groups Drop the Root Beer and Ubiquitous They will open // Ballard Underground, 2220 NW Market Street // $10 at the door, or online, through Brown Paper Tickets

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