Religion is one of those subjects you can explore infinitely. Some people can’t live without it but, whether you’re religious or not, most people have a strong view on it. Some of the best comedy I’ve seen has been based on religion so I had great expectations for Faithbook: Religion V2.0. Unfortunately, this show is more like a first draft than a polished piece.
I’m not familiar with any previous work that Anthony Menchetti and Mat Govoni have done but it’s clear they are yet to find their voice in comedy. The main issue with this show is that the writing is sketchy. It’s not that they don’t stick to the theme; in fact, they’re incredibly faithful to it, but I’ve seen comedians who work to no set theme and still manage to be hilarious.
The problem with the writing is that it doesn’t offer any strong narratives, opinions or depth. For example, when Menchetti and Govoni explain to audience how their religious upbringing screwed them up, they never go beyond the superficial and so their reasons appear hackneyed. From the outset, the audience doesn’t understand why these two men feel so compelled to make a new religion.
The mistake some writers make in comedy is that they’re so focused on the pun and making the audience laugh, they forget about the story which gives the joke both gravity and momentum. Menchetti and Govoni offer up, at best, three lines and a pun and expect the audience to be on board. This is fine in some instances but not as a general rule of thumb. A joke needs to be teased out in order to build the type of intensity that’s gives a great pun the crack that it needs.
Menchetti and Govoni do not have an accomplished stage presence. Their performance is self-consciousness which puts the audience ill at ease. Perhaps all that is needed is some strong direction and this could be overcome.
The songs in this show also need attention. In the rap song I couldn’t hear the lyrics properly as the guys were rushing the lyrics and not enunciating clearly. The songs had little melodic structure and Menchetti and Govoni need to strengthen their voices. With the likes of Tripod and many great cabaret acts today, if you’re going to do comedy songs you really have to deliver to be ahead of the game.
At the end of the show Menchetti and Govoni understood that the audiences’ reaction was underwhelming and openly stated they would be going home to do some re-writes. This demonstrates that the guys are committed to honing their craft and putting on a good show and hopefully in the future we’ll see some great work by these two comediennes.