NYC’s sketch-comedy troupe Elephant Larry put on a solid, but not spectacular, show at the American Theater on Saturday night. Returning to Charleston after a successful run at January’s Charleston Comedy Festival, Larry lived up to some expectations but were often uneven.

Laden with references, the group mined the pop culture landscape to varying degrees of success. An inside look at the video game Street Fighter 2 hit big, but another scene in which the Smurf-eating Gargamel has a hallucinogenic identity crisis missed the mark.

Elephant Larry struck adult comedy gold when at their most juvenile. A retard-test sketch was a riot, featuring classic playground gems such as the “I Don’t Shut Up, I Grow Up”
The wonderfully morbid “Mole Song” had cheesy animal costumes, chipmunk-esque singing, and references to small animal dismemberment. A date from hell sketch and a life in hell sketch, which both starred men in drag were solid, and a bit about a super-philosopher with a taste for human flesh showcased the group’s sly intelligence.

Short films and powerpoint slides added a nice element to the overall performance, most notably during a crowd-pleasing “Friends with Benefits” scene, but the technical aspects were sometimes off, as video flashed at the wrong time and audio tracks were slightly off-cue. Since this was their first show of the run, chances are they’ll smooth that out.

Elephant Larry left the best for last, closing with their strongest sketch of the night, a hilarious hip-hop “Chanty Battle” that had sailors facing off in a verbal MC war to see whose sea chanty will win them street-and-sea cred. The group was at their best during this sketch, combining intelligent wit, pop culture knowledge, and physical comedy to produce hilarious results.

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