“For us, comedy is pretty much like free therapy,” comic Jeremy Hall says at the beginning of “Do You See What I See?”
That sentiment runs throughout the 70-minute variety show, which is playing at Capital Fringe Festival’s Warehouse theater. Although there’s no couch or bearded shrink, the six lead comics use stand-up, sketch comedy and improv much as they would a therapist’s office: to talk through their feelings on dating, their parents, sex, race, gentrification and the sources of inspiration for their comedy.
The jokes don’t always stand up to the weighty topics they address: There’s an uncomfortable bit about Paula Deen’s use of the N-word and a sketch about a “Hood Times restaurant” meant to represent the pre-yuppie District that doesn’t quite hit its mark.
But the show, which consists of a series of individual stand-up routines that are then acted out by the other cast members, has a number of sketches that got the entire audience laughing. There’s a hilarious, if somewhat cliched, exchange between two “marriage contract” negotiators (“The clause about silence during football games is okay, but I don’t know about this cap on mother-in-law visits”), and a funny bit about Facebook involving persistent requests to play Candy Crush. Best of all is a sketch about a dating game show that’s won by a giant panda — yes, there is a furry black-and-white suit involved, and no, his ideal date does not involve a trip to the zoo.
Much like the subjects of a therapy session, some of the routines in “Do You See What I See?” could use some working through. But for anyone who needs more stand-up, improv and panda costumes in his or her life, this variety show offers all three in abundance.
8 p.m. Thursday, 12:30 p.m. Sunday and 3:45 p.m. July 26 at Warehouse, 645 New York Ave. NW. 866-811-4111. www.capitalfringe.org. $17 plus the one-time purchase of a Fringe button. 70 minutes.