The first time you see Mitch West
on stage, he's wearing plain suit pants and a blue, button-up dress shirt. And a pink boa. And lip-syncing to "Let Me Entertain You." But the music quickly dies out, and he gives you a give-me-a-break look. "It's not that kinda show," he says. Not yet.
On the small, black stage of the Dallas Comedy House
, Mitch performs his one-man show, "No, But Seriously," a half-comedy, half-drama extravaganza. He takes you through three acts -- his childhood, his time in the military, and his coming out as gay. He flips between characters and costumes as quickly as he does between comedy and drama. It's pretty awesome to watch.
The most effective part of the performance is when Mitch breaks the "fourth wall" with quips and asides about what's happening in his show. When he does, it's pretty damn hilarious. And I wasn't even drinking.
Even Mitch's Nana isn't safe.
Jane R. LeBlanc
His family plays a large role in his show, and for his first performance of "No, But Seriously" a year ago, his mother, father, aunt and uncle all peered at him from the front row. No pressure, right? After the show, it was truth time.
"I thought you were gonna make me look like an idiot," Mitch's father said to him in his thick Bronx accent. "I look like a hero!" Whew.
"No, But Seriously" evolved out of the stand up Mitch performed in college, and it's a bit different from what it was a year ago. "We punched it up," Mitch says. "There's more production value, there's music! And we made it as universal as possible." By "we," he means he and Amanda Austin, Dallas Comedy House's owner, teacher and performer.
The punching up worked. The music keeps up the energy in the room and adds to the laughs. And the stories are universal, seeming to affect audience members deeply. Mitch manages to create these poignant, tear-inducing moments about his childhood or coming out, and then smashes them to pieces with a quick one-liner.
All proceeds from "No, But Seriously" went to the DREAM Fund