The Skivvies: I Touch My Elf

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The Skivvies

I Touch My Elf
Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, December 2, 2019
Reviewed by Steve Murray

The Skivvies

A raucous sold-out crowd at Feinstein’s welcomed the alternative Holiday show only The Skivvies can deliver—a delightfully risqué mashup of pop, rock, and Broadway tunes arranged for cello, ukulele, percussion, and assorted little-used instruments (glockenspiel, boom whackers, and kazoo) with special non-PG lyrics and more than a few bad puns. Oh yeah, The Skivvies as well as their special guests all strip down to their undies. The award-winning duo of Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Marry Me a Little, Sweeney Todd) and Nick Cearley (All Shook Up) became YouTube viral sensations with their living room mashups morphing into The Skivvies (a suggestion from Lauren’s boyfriend) in 2012 to critical and popular acclaim.

The Skivvies genre is reminiscent of Weird Al Yankovic’s song parodies combined with a touch of burlesque and biting social satire.  I Touch My Elf seamlessly incorporates holiday chestnuts into contemporary pop culture with a smart edge that’s both hilarious and sardonic. The opening number “Joyful Joyful/“Hot in Herre” is a perfect representation of their art; it’s a mashup of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (Beethoven), “Joy to the World” (Trad.) “Joyful Joyful” (Sister Act 2), “Hot in Herre” (Nelly), “It’s Hot Up Here” (Sunday in the Park with George), and “Hot Hot Hot” (Buster Poindexter).

Eartha Kitt’s sultry Christmas wish in “Santa Baby” (Joan Ellen Javits/Philip Springer/Tony Springer)—turns into Molina’s admission that St. Nick is her father—is mashed with Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” “Ring My Bell” becomes a delightful mix of The Pointer Sisters, “My Dingaling,” and even the 1950’s Frank Loesser tune “If I Were A Bell” from Guys and Dolls. The craziness continues throughout their set, with the saddest Christmas story of all—“Frosty the Snowman,” whose fate is sealed under a harsh sun sung to Modern English’s “I Melt with You.” Brilliant stuff.

The Skivvies always invite special guests to join in the frivolity, a regular being Nick Adams (pictured) (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; La Cage aux Folles; Wicked; A Chorus Line)—a talented actor and a looker in his skivvies. His first appearance is as an exhausted elf, worked too hard during this busy season. His song incorporates the Donna Summer hit “She Works Hard for the Money” and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” He returned as hunky Jesus with a slew of very un-PC but funny one-liners: “I’ve got a big birthday coming up”; “I’m so hungry, can’t remember my Last Supper”; and a training regimen that includes CrossFit. His mashup included a nod to Yankovic’s “Eat It” (“Beat It”), Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like a Wolf,” Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes,” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart.”

Other guests included members of the touring production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Lauren Zakrin singing “Blue Christmas” and Nick Hyland singing “Winter Wonderland,” all creative mashups. Molina and Cearley blend their harmonies like old buddies can, feeding their guests and each other setup lines to intro songs. A spoof of Brittany Spears “Toxic” was the only non-mashup before their encore of “Little Drummer Boy” and the Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat” played with plastic boom whackers.

The Skivvies turn what could be a one-trick gimmick into a slick, well-choreographed musical explosion that always entertains and keeps you trying to guess which songs can successfully be co-joined with a familiar tune. It’s a smart, bawdy, rollicking good time.

Steve Murray

Always interested in the arts, Steve was encouraged to begin producing and, in 1998, staged four, one-man vehicles starring San Francisco's most gifted performers. In 1999, he began the Viva Variety series, a live stage show with a threefold mission to highlight, support, and encourage gay and gay-friendly art in all the performance forms, to entertain and document the shows, and to contribute to the community by donating proceeds to local non-profits. The shows utilized the old variety show style popularized by his childhood idol Ed Sullivan. He’s produced over 150 successful shows, including parodies of Bette Davis’s gothic melodramedy Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and Joan Crawford’s very awful Trog. He joined Cabaret Scenes 2007 and enjoys the writing and relationships he’s built with very talented performers.