BWW Reviews: ROCK BOTTOM Offers Raunch Without Wit

"Do you like raunchy?" the waitress at Joe's Pub asked when my guest and I told her neither of us had seen Bridget Everett before.

"I like anything that's good," was my reply.

Bridget Everett (Photo: Kevin Yatarola)

Well, from the moment she entered the house draped in a getup that barely covered her breasts and got right down to the business of flashing what was underneath to the patrons seated up front, Bridget Everett certainly filled Rock Bottom, commissioned by Joe's Pub with NEA grant money, with sufficient raunchiness. The cheering, squealing fans who packed the venue no doubt ranked her efforts as at least a few notches above good.

And while I can go for raunchiness as much as the next theatre critic, obsessively aggressive raunchiness void of any kind of cleverness or variety can get tiresome very quickly, although those who have never seen a boisterous female performer sing songs about body parts, cavort with fake phalluses or invite audience members to lick whipped cream off her thigh may find the evening fresh.

To her credit, Everett is a rowdy, energetic performer with strong pipes and a lovely, sincere way with a ballad. (The quieter moments are by far the best parts of the show.) She has a catchy ditty, "Titties," that promotes the acceptance of all body types, female and male, with its humorously descriptive lyric. ("She got them tube sock titties... I got these beaver tale titties... He got them jackhammer titties...)

Everett has a hand in co-authoring all the songs she sings in the piece and for five of them she collaborates with the notable team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who also directs. She's joined on stage by a 4-piece band and two backup singers. Unfortunately, her lyrics were largely unintelligible from my seat in the back of the house (my guest concurred) for numbers like "Tell Me (Does This Dick Make My Ass Look Big)," "Put Your Dick Away," "Eat It" and the title song, where she picks out audience members and tells smutty stories about low points in their lives. ("Your wallet is gone, your Rolex is gone and somebody's got a bloody little rectum.")

Her passion for chardonnay fuels a repetitive bit about how she defends her choice of wine on Facebook and her mentioning of her own abortions cues actor Cole Escola to enter, wearing a diaper and singing a sappy version of Pat Boone's right-to-life anthem, "Let Me Live."

Bridget Everett certainly has talent and has obviously built up a significant following, but frankly there are other raunchy singers offering licks of whipped cream off of their bodies who I'd rather see my tax dollars funding.

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