Live theater, unsolicited commentary. From Detroit to Lansing.


O holy crap, is there a lot of content in Miracle on 9 Mile Street. For its first original holiday sketch show, Go Comedy! digs deep, with scenes that range from one-line jokes to musical numbers — blending puns, parodies, sight gags, and wacky characters into a sampler of sterling comedy. Barreling on a considerable wave of forward momentum, the ninety-minute revue hits plenty of high notes.

Under the direction of Michelle and Tommy LeRoy, the show's framework resembles the Second City mold: there is no plot, and almost no recurring characters. Instead, Miracle free-wheels variations on the holiday theme. Each sketch is polished and strong, the point of view is fresh, and the action rarely drags. Although most scenes had a familiar structure and length, one longer and quite ambitious time-shifting scene landed a sucker punch of tenderness that was a welcome counterpoint to the surrounding mania.

The ensemble of six repeatedly delivers, in scenarios too numerous and diverse to summarize. Garrett Fuller and Bryan Lark had some especially memorable characters: a perfectionist video game store clerk, a disadvantaged young troublemaker, a holier-than-thou Somerset Collection employee, and a baby New Year that defies description. Turning the now-let-us-do-a-Hanukkah-scene trope on its head, Anne Faba and Suzie Jacokes were delightful as Jewish mothers forced to sell poinsettias at their daughters' Catholic school ("It's the best school..."). Go Comedy! co-founders Pj Jacokes and Chris DiAngelo showed the benefits of years of collaboration in a beautifully understated interaction between airplane passengers.

Yet add to this the slow-motion battle royale, Ghost Hunters parody (with bonus Swedish Chef–reminiscent Ghost of Christmas Future), thinly veiled fighting in front of the kids, gingerbread cookies' take on Christmas, and more, and the glut of material raises the question: Is this too much of a good thing? With few callbacks and only one recurring gag, there is an absence of through line masked by the drive of scene after scene. The production does well to include a clear finale that brings together some of the most memorable characters; however, if the sign of a great show is that it flies by, I can't help noting that Miracle felt a bit longer than its running time. (To the production's credit, that it took me a while to sort this out, because it manifested in a pleasant "That's weird, I feel like I've been laughing forever!" sensation.)

It must be hell to edit down a show when every element works, and works well. If Miracle on 9 Mile Street's only crime is having too much excellent material, I'm more than willing to forgive it this small transgression — spirit of the season, and all. In a quagmire of perpetual classics, Miracle celebrates the unexpected, the unholy, the unrestrained; if you feel like you've seen everything, you haven't.


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