Even by typical 21st century Vaudeville-style comedy act standards, the Flying Karamazov Brothers are unexpected and uncontrollable. A quick click-through of their website’s trivia page has the words “Bull’s Testicles” and a question about angels who count in Hebrew flashing across your monitor. As far as anyone can tell, this is only the beginning.
While the group has built an impressive theatrical résumé since 1973’s inception at the University of California, Santa Cruz, putting on loose Shakespearean adaptations, performing in countless widely renowned venues, and sharing the stage with individuals ranging from the Beat Generation’s Allen Ginsberg to McDreamy, these guys are also known for playing amped-up versions of themselves on shows like Seinfeld. They even had a major role in the Michael Douglas action vehicle/disaster The Jewel of the Nile, which says quite a bit about the group’s propensity for variety.
None of this implies that familiarity with the Flying Karamazov Brothers leads to fulfilled expectations. Classic acts such as their Terror Trick, which curiously involves dry ice, champagne, and a torch all at once, are sure to make recurring appearances, but nothing about this group of faux siblings is designed for predictability. With these guys, everything boils down to insane levels of comedy growing naturally out of such zaniness and audacity. Their typical wardrobe of kilts and tutus only serves to underscore their inherent eccentricity.
With this sort of a diverse background, it’s tempting to describe the target audience of the Flying Karamazov Brothers as eclectic. This, however, would be to miss the point altogether, for these men simply strive to appeal to everyone from prison inmates to the most refined theatregoer. It’s all about laughter and sheer absurdity. Target audience be damned.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers/February 17/The Paramount Theater