Two things happened in New York in 2011: I moved back here, and “The Book of Mormon” debuted on Broadway.
Pretty much since it opened and I heard how astoundingly great it was, I’ve wanted to see it. I’m not a huge Trey Parker/Matt Stone fan, don’t love “South Park” all that much, but I heard so many wonderful things about it, I figured I had to see it.
Finally, five years later, my lovely wife got us tickets to see it on Saturday (bless her, she’d already seen it once before we met, and her reaction: “I’m kind of embarrassed at how hard I laughed at it.”)
Yes, I knew it’d be raunchy, and totally inappropriate, and probably offensive if I was even a tiny bit Mormon.
And after seeing it, I can honestly say: It was really damn funny. The story of two apple-cheeked and fired up new Mormon missionaries named Price and Cunningham (first names Kevin and Arnold, so of course I thought of Kevin Arnold and once again, it ALL goes back to “The Wonder Years”) being sent to Uganda to convert a whole bunch of African-American villagers is hilarious. The dialogue is SO over the top, and the props so delightfully tacky, and the profanity sprinkled throughout (an African general is called “General Butt-fucking Naked”) but it’s all done in service of laughs.
The musical numbers are tremendous; the actors playing Cunningham (Christopher John O’Neill) and the female Ugandan villager Nabulungi (Nikki Renee Daniels) were particularly fabulous; I was also blown away by the energy and intensity of all the performers, for the whole two hours. We saw a Saturday matinee, so to think the whole cast had to turn around and do the whole show again just four hours later was kind of mind-boggling.
“The Book of Mormon” wasn’t perfect; it started off slow, and the musical numbers in the second act were much better and funnier, at least to me. But it was really, really good. If you are visiting NYC and can get tickets, definitely worth your time.
**Next up today, the New York presidential primary is fast approaching, and after watching these candidates from afar for the past year, it’s a little bit cool seeing them pressing the flesh just a few miles from me. I did some Bernie Sanders volunteering on Sunday, and as you might expect, his people are mighty fired up. (Unlike me, they actually think Bernie will get the Democratic nomination. Ah, to be a young dreamer…)
SNL did its part to help Bernie Saturday night, with the great Kate McKinnon poking fun at Hillary Clinton in the opening sketch. I laughed pretty hard…
**Finally today, the end of the regular season in the NBA very rarely is interesting. Most teams have either clinched their playoff spot and are getting ready for the postseason, or have packed it in long ago and are just playing out the string (our two NYC teams are happily doing just that). I normally pay as much attention to the last week of the season as I do to golf (though hey, good job by that British dude winning The Masters Sunday.)
But this year’s different, because the Golden State Warriors, my goodness, are just so much fun to watch, and they’re chasing a record that really means very little like it’s the most important damn thing in the world. They’ve been trying to equal or beat the Chicago Bulls 72 wins in a regular season, and this weekend the Dubs (as they’re called by the cool kids) pulled out two games they absolutely could’ve lost.
The regular season means nothing, these guys have killed themselves all year, they’re the best show in sports right now, and still, they found the wherewithal to pull out huge road wins over Memphis and San Antonio, all while Steph Curry makes Harry Houdini shots like that (above).
It’s so wonderful to watch a team of ego-less players at the highest level, playing the game with so much joy. The Stanley Cup playoffs (and my underachieving Rangers) usually have my full attention this time of year, but sleep be damned, I’m going to try to catch as many Warriors games as I can.
This kind of team just doesn’t come along too often. I mean, look at this shot!