Woo Pig Sooie!

Thurs. June 8

9:30 p.m.

Theater 99

280 Meeting St.

Piccolo Spoleto’s Piccolo Fringe Series

Want to know how to get an audience interested before you’ve even walked on stage? As the world-wise (and -weary) Matt Besser must’ve figured, having a gigantic, red plastic hat shaped like a wild hog sitting near the microphone is a fairly good bet.

Besser’s one-man show, Woo Pig Sooie!, was a hilarious and somewhat stream-of-consciousness combination of sharp social criticism disguised as religion jokes, stand-up, and storytelling. The Arkansas native emerged dressed in full U of Ark. Razorbacks regalia in keeping with a theme he used to great effect throughout the show. He began by discussing his religious zealot of a grandmother, who, in her waning years, began sending actual letters to God (complete with return address) that simply contained short messages like “Julie and family” (Julie being Besser’s mother). This segued into a bit where he read some completely ridonkulous prayers he found on the internet about cast members from Punky Brewster and the show just kept rolling from there.

Besser’s laid-back delivery belied a razor(back)-sharp insight into the many inane problems swarming America these days, including (but not limited to): the evolution/”intelligent design” debate, publicly posting the Ten Commandments, gay marriage amendments, the cult of Catholicism (“All a religion is is an old cult”), and, in fairness to his half-Jewish heritage, the absurdity of not driving on the Sabbath.

As a co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy troupe, Besser’s command of improvisation shined through in his off-the-cuff interactions with the audience. After a gentleman got up (presumably to go to the bathroom), Besser remarked that it “must’ve been the joke about the Virgin Mary’s clit” that scared him away.

The show hit a bit of a premature climax when Besser presented his “new Ten Commandments,” a list that included such soon-to-be-timeless admonishments as: “#1: Don’t touch me. #4: Don’t bogart that joint!” and the clincher, “#10: Don’t be so uptight about asshole sex.” He then instructed the audience to “go ahead, just give it a try when you get home tonight. And write me an e-mail and tell me all about it. With pictures.”

Woo Pig Sooie! was a fantastic one-man monologue/rant/routine that somehow managed to be vulgar, rip-snortingly hilarious, and touching. Yes, touching. And we guarantee you’ll never say “God bless you” the same way again.