Ophira & Adira

Adira Amram & The Experience with Maresa "The Body & Soul" D’Amore-Morrison and Jessi "Jamz" Colon perform FingerBlast during Ophira & Adira at Union Hall.

By Andrew Andrews

Ophira Eisenberg was so funny at last night’s Ask Me Another that it seemed right to check out her new variety show co-hosted by Adira Amram & The Experience tonight at Union Hall. Of course, we knew we’d have to overlook the fact that many of the jokes would be the same, but it’s no secret how much we like variety shows, so it was a small sacrifice well worth making!

Ophira & Adira & The Experience (guitarist Jack Dawson, drummer Adam Amram and Dave Lindsay on bass) opened the show with their “theme song,” then went straight into a comedic monologue—um, make that a comedic dialogue. Adira thinks she got double pink eye from reading negative things, so the duo of sparkly doctors (Adira with a Ph.D. in Dance Therapy and Ophira with a major in Philosophical Comedy, minor in Joy) decided that each of tonight’s acts should be considered therapy to help everyone cope with the way the year has started.

Magician Matthew Holtzclaw provided the first treatment, dazzling everyone with his reversible cigarettes and “bag of mystery.” Holtzclaw let the audience in on two little secrets about magic: first, that it’s more about distracting the mind than the eyes, and second, that you have to use your pectoral muscles to get the correct card from your left hand into your right pocket without anyone noticing! Next up, Asian comedian Becky Yamamoto reflected on her marriage to an Italian-American from Brooklyn, equating it to a “joining of the noodles” and noting that it was bound to happen, with New York’s Little Italy just across the street from Chinatown. Then, storyteller Mike Albo recalled the horrific few months in Summer 2001, when a crazed fan who claimed to cause 9/11 because of his feelings decided to stalk Albo. Yikes!

One of the coolest, novel little things about this show is that each guest, at the end of his or her set, introduces the next performer. At this point, Albo presented host Ophira “iPhoto” Eisenberg (a nickname given by her spellchecker!), who talked about how much it sucks to have a birthday on January 2nd, when everyone except her alcoholic friends is too tired (and still keeping their new year’s resolutions) to go out and celebrate with her. She also complained about her old therapist, who inferred she was wearing a sheitel because, let’s face it: Ophira has a great head of hair. A “top-notch, Etsy-grade sheitel,” indeed.

Finally, it was time for co-host Adira Amram & The Experience to return with dancers Maresa “The Body & Soul” D’Amore-Morrison and Jessi “Jamz” Colon to perform their comedic song FingerBlast. If Flight of the Conchords meets Peaches sounds as good to you as it does to us, then check out the rest of their tunes! But since everything is better in three dimensions, Jessi and Maresa passed out 3-D glasses to the entire audience for a segment called Great Balls of Humanity, during which a beach ball was let loose on the crowd for a unique spin on Musical Chairs—when the band stopped playing, whomever had the ball was compelled to read and obey the instructions on one of its colored panels. One lucky audience member was called up for a turtle hug, for example, then an entire row was commanded to body roll.

The Experience closed the show with a cover of George Michael’s Faith before Ophira’s husband, comic author Jonathan Baylis, took to the stage wearing an inflatable body suit so the entire room could sing Happy Birthday to him. It was a surprise ending to a surprise-filled evening, and as much as we love variety shows already, they’re so much better when you don’t know what to expect. In fact, we can’t think of a single fault with tonight’s show! Let’s hope they can keep up the momentum, keep up the variety, and keep up the surprises at the next Ophira & Adira and for many more shows to come! 5

Andrew Andrews attended Ophira & Adira at Union Hall in Brooklyn on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 @ 7:30pm to write this review.

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