Village Voice
Nov. 27 - Dec. 3, 2002
The Stunt Men
by Tom Sellar

You can buy a drink at Happy Hour (Chashama), but you won't need one to feel a pleasant comic buzz. Matthew Morgan, Mark Gindick, and Ambrose Martos, the group's talented trio, let fun flow freely throughout this evening of group-devised neo-vaudeville. For those who warm to the sight of trampolines, there's plenty of classic clowning, complete with pratfalls, acrobatic stunts, and lots of whoopee-cushion gags. (The cast boasts alumni of Clown College and a certain Greatest Show on Earth.) But the troika's more eccentric Gen X antics are the true source of its charm. A relentless soundtrack of 1980s bubblegum pop fuels maniacal lip-synching routines, induces hyperventilation in a hip-hopping sequence, and inspires daredevil feats. (Whoever said that comedy requires an element of danger will be gratified to see Gindick's experiments with Pop Rocks and Coke.) In various guises, the threesome flatter the ladies of the front rows with their attention, twirling capes and serenading in sombreros; they also pursue each other, doing a fabulously zany drag tango. Great clowning seizes on imperfection in all its forms--from dancefloor bumbles to folding chairs that snap shut on your nose. True to tradition, Happy Hour honors our never-ending failures with a cool adroitness that rarely wavers. (The Snuggle Bunny's audience visit goes on a little longer than it might, but how could anyone complain?) The finale's coup de grāce is a brilliantly unglamorous striptease (in bathrobes), leaving Austin Powers and The Full Monty in the dust. With meticulous execution, steady wit, and inventive personas, it's easy to see how Happy Hour could become a habit.

New York Times
Feb. 8, 2002 Page E39
Wall-to-Wall Antics
By Laurel Graeber

Most parents wouldn't dream of taking their children to Happy Hour. Well, they should, at least if it's the one at the Chashama Theater. This Happy Hour has everything to do with high spirits and nothing with alcoholic ones, unless you count a can of beer in one of its routines. A trio of young men -- Ambrose Martos, Mark Gindick and Matthew Morgan -- who met at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, Happy Hour is proof that at least some graduates of higher education do something useful with their degrees, like slow-motion fistfights, opening birdcages with their tongues and tangoing in drag. Happy Hour's show, "2 for 1," consists of hilarious physical comedy, much of it involving the spectators. At one point, Mr. Morgan plants a toilet plunger on his shaved head and persuades a member of the audience to play ring toss. At another, Mr. Martos places a hotel bell on top of a suitcase with a sign saying, "Please, ring," knowing that some intrepid soul will answer that siren call. (I won't reveal what happens next.) Although much of the show is wordless, it is far from silent. Music is used to very funny effect, particularly in a dance contest in which Mr. Martos follows the directive of K.C. and the Sunshine Band's "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" while teetering on roller skates. Much to my 7-year-old's delight, the show includes some gross-out humor (one of the unbilled stars is a whoopee cushion) and some mildly vulgar expressions. There's even a finale in which the trio, wearing only bathrobes, threaten to out-monty "The Full Monty." But don't worry. Like all good comedians, these three know that less is often more. "2 for 1," tonight and tomorrow night at 8 at the Chashama Theater, 111 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, (212) 631-5819. Tickets: $12. Reservations advised.

New York Post
January 31, 2002
By Chip Deffaa

Kudos to Mark Gindick, Matthew Morgan and Ambrose Martos - three irrepressible, post-modern circus clowns billed, collectively, as Happy Hour. And kudos to Chashama Theater Artistic Director Anita Durst, who's brought this irresistible, high-energy, family-oriented entertainment to Times Square and is keeping ticket prices ridiculously low - $12 and sometimes even less, thanks to 2-for-1 ticketing and other deals. What you get is a fast-paced performance, suitable for all ages, in which the classic elements of clowning - slapstick, mime, pratfalls, whoopee cushions and acrobatics - are set to contemporary musical rhythms with a nicely ironic, self-deprecating tone. At one point, the endearing, impish Gindick even dares to "risk his life" by eating Pop Rocks candy and drinking a Coke. (Anyone of a certain age may recall the urban legend that swept the country, circa 1975, that combining Pop Rocks and cola was lethal.) There's also a mock striptease, fun with a mini-trampoline and birthday cake (if you're lucky, you'll end up with a piece). These clowns are adding welcome new life to 42nd Street.
Nov. 20, 2002
By Brooke Pierce

A showcase for the rumble-tumble comedy of three clowns ...the three affable performers find a lot of
strange ways to get laughs ... interesting and original ...unique ...the guys have a wonderfully comic sense of rhythm ... indeed a happy hour of goofy fun.

Washington Square News
Nov. 22, 2002
By Seth Bisen-Hersh

Happy Hour promises non-stop laughs and definitely delivers ... Martos, Gindick and Morgan have incredible chemistry ... too many funny acts to describe ... see them live and be surprised ... every movement is executed for the utmost comedic effect ... a terrific trio ... Happy Hour will leave you drunk on laughs.

The New Yorker
Dec. 16, 2002

Happy Hour is just that; an hour of frolic presented by three faux-hapless clowns who mix the naughtiness of the old Times Square with an elegy for a whoopee cushion and an Acme Bad Ass Kit.

New York
Nov. 18, 2002

Featuring pratfalls, cheerleading, and Pop Rocks, this latter-day vaudeville act is a crowd pleaser.

Nov. 12, 2002
By Drew Pisarra

Disarmingly uplifting ... this goofy threesome is madcap's made-to-order match.

© 2003 Happy Hour Productions

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