The Hot Cheetos, a comedy troupe now at D.C. Space, are more appetizing than their name suggests. Through satirical songs and skits aimed at aspiring bourgeoisie, these five performers manage to induce some real belly laughs.
They're short on finesse, and some of the material is stale, but the Cheetos often exude the energy of college sophomores at a food fight.
That's especially true of Michael Higgins, who wrote much of the revue, including a sketch about Hollywood contract talks between Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney ("If Minny weren't a mouse, I'd sure be after her tail," Walt burbles, while Mickey squeaks, "Walt, I think I'll have that Cheez Whiz now"); another skit titled, evocatively, "The Attack of the Georgetown Waiters"; and a song about herpes -- to the tune of Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By" -- called "Wash Your Thighs."
Higgins, whose preppy looks are incongruously presentable, performs with comic commitment and tasteless abandon. Only Bari Biern, the woman of the group, comes up to his zany standard, especially in "Romeo and Juliet" -- Shakespeare's tragedy pared to five minutes -- and "Ace in the Hole," in which she's a contestant on a game show that metamorphoses, Kafka-like, into a police inquisition.
The show offers junk food here and there. We probably don't need yet another song lampooning psychiatry, or improvisations that are closer to acting-class exercises than performances. But the Hot Cheetos, oftener than not, go down surprisingly well. THE HOT CHEETOS -- At D.C. Space through August 13.