KML’s sketch comedians go ‘Radio Active’ 

click to enlarge Killing My Lobster Goes Radio Active
  • Siobhan Marie Doherty makes the most of her material in “Killing My Lobster Goes Radio Active.”
On opening night, The City’s longtime sketch comedy troupe Killing My Lobster was playing to an audience still reeling from the recent death of Robin Williams and presumably eager to laugh. So it was a little odd that the hour-and-a-half show “Killing My Lobster Goes Radio Active” began with a fairly long set of dramatic, not-at-all-funny songs by guest artist Tossie Long and her accompanist, Kevin McCann.

It was an odd intro to an evening of more than a dozen short skits of the “Saturday Night Live” genre, set within a traditional radio show context. But the youthful audience responded to Long’s considerable musical talents with enthusiasm.

With five accomplished KML performers positioned at five mics — and Foley artist The Reverend LordRifa providing spot-on sound effects from an upstage table laden with assorted, low-tech noisemakers — the radio-show concept works well.

Using only minor stage movement, the performers embody a series of characters in skits that range from mildly amusing to hilarious; the script is by head writer Cas Ruffin along with a team of eight or nine others.

Among the scenes are a Boy Scout hike involving scatology — and bears; a pair of Muni riders bewitched by the train operator’s seductive, Barry White voice; the “Scone Ranger,” arriving heroically on a prancing horse; a couple squabbling over their new Sleep Number bed.

Particularly funny are the more pointedly satirical scenes: a series of NPR shows called “Famous Conversations ... In Hell”; a troupe of radio-theater actors from the old days who appear, now aged and clueless, to re-create some of their most successful shows, with disastrous results; an overly expressive and pretentious tambourine player. The finale, a parody of Yelp restaurant reviews, is especially delicious.

On the whole, KML’s performers are stronger than the material. I especially liked Allison Page, with her expansive range, but every actor (Kenny Bourquin, Siobhan Marie Doherty, Tavis Kammet and Griffin Taylor) creates at least one memorable caricature, and the polished ensemble, sharply directed by Millie DeBenedet, works together seamlessly.


Killing My Lobster Goes Radio Active

Where: Z Below, 470 Florida St., SF

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday

Tickets: $10 to $20

Contact: (415) 558-7721,

About The Author

Jean Schiffman

Jean Schiffman

Jean Schiffman is a freelance arts writer specializing in theatre. Some of her short stories and personal essays have been published in newspapers and small literary magazines. She is an occasional book copy editor and also has a background in stage acting. Her book “The Working Actor’s Toolkit” was published... more
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