In their opening bit, the Shock T’s mocked themselves, asking questions that might cross the mind of a confused audience member upon seeing two guys, one girl, and a guitar emerge from behind the curtain at a comedy show. “You might be thinking, can they sing?” they ask in song, answering their own question with a well-pitched and impressively strong vocal ladder before responding: “Kind of.” As the crowd would soon discover, the group holds a very modest opinion of their own musical talent.
The youthful trio of Tim Dunn, Tyler Paterson, and Sarah Shockey stroked the Charleston crowd’s ego a bit, admitting that the Holy City is one of their favorite places to perform. It didn’t take long to see that the feeling was mutual as the threesome kept the audience laughing for the entirety of their hour-long set Sunday night, belting out both pre-rehearsed and totally improvisational acoustic songs.
Their hysterical harmonies range in subject from sex to alcoholism in the 1500s to, well, even more sex, but the material is fresh and one-of-a-kind. Even with the sometimes off-the-wall topics, The Shock T’s have a knack for turning everyday situations into gut-busting melodies.
A riveting performance of the ’90s one-hit-wonder “Come on Barbie” garnered deep laughs while the witty and oh-so-true original tune “More Important” gave a facetious look into the difficult life of a professional baseball player, with lyrics such as “Sometimes I think I’m overpaid, but then I remember…I’m more important than 500 teachers, I’m worth more than a children’s hospital wing!” Some of their songs are simply ridiculous, like Sarah’s knee-slapping solo on the ever-popular and mildly inappropriate “Penis Song.” Others like “Matt & Aimee” and “Last Guy” are so real that you can almost pin the painfully true and amusingly clever lyrics to a friend or family member.
Throughout the 60 minutes of nonstop laughter, it was difficult to tell whether The Shock T’s are musicians-turned-comics or natural funny people with a side of acoustic awesomeness. In either case, their songs are incredibly well-written ballads that come one after another, leaving the audience little time to catch their breath. We hope they weren’t just being flirtatious teases when they confessed that Charleston is one of their favorite places, because this unique brand of musical comedy certainly has found a place in the Lowcountry.