Don't let the haughty words of Sir Charles Henry Sanders III fool you. He may pompously proclaim that he "lets the audience buy the ticket and then provides them the ride of their lives," or that he "grants you the opportunity to look at his exquisitely handcrafted characters," but Charlie Sanders' one-man show, You're Welcome for What You're About to See, is all about taking the piss out of the pretentiousness of one-man shows.
See, Charlie is from St. Paul, Minn., and the last thing that could ever emerge from that frozen tundra is self-importance. (Al Franken excluded, of course.)
Sanders' love for unfussy, straightforward comedy started long before he ever got to New York. In high school, he and a few buddies performed in hometown improv and sketch groups. After finding his comic muse, he blew off college, became a member of St. Paul's ComedySportz, a wacky two-team improv competition, and finally moved to New York, where he joined Chicago City Limits.
Sanders joined up with the Upright Citizens Brigade in 2001 and has worked in a variety of groups and shows since then. He's made appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Comedy Central's I Love the '30s and I Love the Middle Ages. Most recently, he came to Charleston in January as part of UCB Tourco and put on Buffoons and Three Dudes with Bobby Moynihan and Eugene Cordero for the '06 Charleston Comedy Festival.
You're Welcome for What You're About to See is what you'd call a steaming-fresh production, having been finalized in recent weeks, although Sanders says several characters in the show have been with him for years.
"One guy is definitely someone I knew growing up, with very little tweaking," admits Sanders.
Sanders promises to "move with the grace of a cheetah between characters, creating a tiny America for viewers to proudly salute as their own," which bodes well for audiences looking for a quick comedy fix.
YOU'RE WELCOME FOR WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO SEE • Piccolo Spoleto's Piccolo Fringe at the American Theater • $15 • May 26 at 8 p.m.; May 28 at 7 p.m. • 50 min • American Theater, 446 King St. • 554-6060