The lesbian characters themselves fare about on par with the
gay male characters in terms of screen time and number of sketches, a promising
feature in the generally male-skewed world of TV. While many of the celebrity
impersonations are aimed more at the gay male audience, most skits feature
jokes that can be enjoyed by every letter of the LGBT spectrum and are
integrated well within the overall context of the show.
The greatest selling point of BGSS has always been its immensely likable cast, particularly
female stars Goldman, McKinnon, Erica
Ash and Nicol Paone (all of whom are returning from Season 1). On the
male side, Stephen Guarino and newcomer Colman Domingo stand out the most, with
respectable turns from Paolo Andino and
Jonny McGovern. The performances routinely transcend the occasionally
spotty writing, making even the worst of the setups worth watching.
Season 2 cast from left to right:
Colman Domingo, Kate McKinnon, Jonny McGovern, Nicole Paone,
Paolo Andino, Julie Goldman, Erica Ash
The show is at its best when the sketches highlight specific
characters (again, showcasing the cast) or poke fun at established
institutions. McKinnon is priceless when she reprises her character Fitzwilliam,
a foppish, British boy who wants to be a girl (with a "first-rate vagina!").
Similarly, Domingo has a sidesplitting recurring role as Maya Angelou reading
explicit Craigslist "missed connections" entries as if they were poetry.
And as always, Paone absolutely
nails her impersonation of Elaine Stritch, "selling it to the back row"
shines when it takes on hypocrisy in established media channels. Closeted Republican
officials and dating website eHarmony’s homophobic policies receive hilarious
special attention and raise the show into social commentary mode without losing
any wacky charm. If the real power of comedy is its ability to change minds and
break barriers (or to "complain with charm" about the status quo),
the show does an admirable job.
Despite some unevenness, The
Big Gay Sketch Show is genuinely funny and often inspired. The show has
improved immensely from its already decent first season, and it shines above
the occasional rough patches by delivering in full on the promise of queer-friendly
laughs. It’s big, loud, gay and perfectly outrageous.
The second season of The Big Gay Sketch Show premieres Feb. 5,
2008, at 10 p.m. ET.