Picks and Pans Review: Count Floyd

updated 04/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/11/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Paul Flaherty

Chicago's improvisational troupe Second City, besides being one of the longest-running cabaret groups anywhere, has methodically fed America's comedy machinery with talents such as Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Peter Boyle, John Belushi and Shelley Berman. Playwright David (Sexual Perversity in Chicago) Mamet used to be a bus-boy at the headquarters at 1616 North Wells Street. The current cast's Survival Kit collection was recorded live and provides evidence that improvisation is still the order of the day. The regular cast, which includes Nonie Newton Breen, Lance Kinsey, Rick Thomas, John Kapelos, Danny Breen and Meagen Fay, provides skits on President Reagan, God, the Mafia, fast food, Social Security, video games and drugs. The comics also do a kind of believe-it-or-not sketch on the Joseph and Mary story, which is such an easy target it's the satirical equivalent of hunting steers in a corral with a scoped rifle, but it's still funny. Another deft bit is a blues number sung by a Greek restaurateur. ("I know what you're thinking," the announcer says, " 'The blues is from Chicago.' We all know that the blues is from the Delta—the third letter of the Greek alphabet.") While this troupe hardly tops the best of the SC alumni's work, it suggests that some of these now unfamiliar names will be heard from, too. An alum of Second City's Toronto-based sister group is Flaherty, 41, who portrays a broad range of crazies on the video yuk-up SCTV Network. He plays, among others, Sammy Maudling, Guy Caballero and Count Floyd, who is a TV horror movie host with a clean widow's peak and a dirty mind. Backed by the immortal Wally Hung Experience, the Count howls, chortles and sings four tunes: The Gory Story of Duane & Debbie, Treat You Like a Lady, the wacky Reggae Christmas Eve in Transylvania and Count Floyd Is Back (supposedly recorded when the Count was opening for the Rolling Stones). The LP is so funny it is, as Floyd himself might say, real scary: Ourww-oooo!

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