Sat., Jan. 19, 9:30 p.m.; $12.50; Charleston Ballet Theatre; www.youtube.com/pushers
Not a year goes by without the latest brand of comedy being heralded as the new rock 'n' roll. The Pushers may not have the instruments, but they've got enough fans, chutzpah, and hotel bills to make a case for the affirmative.
The Pushers are visiting Charleston from Norfolk, Va., where their audiences are drawn to their politically incorrect brand of caustic comedy — a kind of R-rated Saturday Night Live, says Pushers poobah Sean Devereux.
A sample favorite scene: Michael Jackson and a priest fight over a little boy.
"It's a very, very horrible joke," Devereux admits, "but for some reason people love it. There's not a PC bone in our bodies and our biggest response seems to be, 'I cannot believe you said that or did that.'
"We have some popular recurring characters," he adds. "Like Hump, a guy in an egg suit. The actor who plays him can't walk down the street in Norfolk without someone shouting, 'Hey, you're the egg dude!'"
Hump is The Pushers' mascot and has appeared in a trilogy of short films. The most popular is Hump'N New York. The big egg cracks the Big Apple.
"We do sketches based on the Super Friends with a dysfunctional Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman," Devereux says. "We did a Holocaust joke once, and right after that, we did a Mel Gibson sketch."
This followed Gibson's drunken anti-Semite rant back in '06.
"In hindsight, the two together were probably a bit much," Devereux says. "But we tell all our writers that no subject is off limits."
Members of the group include Devereux, Brad McMurran, Sandra Hernandez, Tiffany Chilcott, Ed Carden, Saeed Wilkins, Rob Wilson, Courtney Wolter, and Amber Heckler, all adding material in a quest to keep sketches innovative and unpredictable.
"Everyone writes and has a slightly different sense of humor," Devereux says. "So it's not potty-mouth jokes over and over. For some people that's their specialty. For others, it's situational or character-based comedy. I'm pretty good at pop culture type sketches. There's enough of a mix that we won't get pigeonholed."
The amount of thought they've put into their set is understandable: This is the Pushers' first major out-of-state show. "We're excited by the trip," Devereux says. "We already have a following here, because Brad McMurran's brother Rob went to the College of Charleston. We're like a rock band, trashing our hotel."
Does the Holiday Inn know about this?
"We did get banned from a hotel in Richmond," Devereux says. "But that was during NASCAR week. We ended up with crazy rednecks."