Crass Monkey logoBefore they met and formed the new sketch comedy duo The Crass Monkey in New York City, Dean Jones wrote and performed sketch comedy for six years in North Carolina, while Kevin Skinner says he had “no performance background, other than his background performances in many horrible, horrible TV shows and movies.”

The Crass Monkey debuted with their first-ever live performance last Monday night, at The Mean Fiddler near Times Square; a second show is scheduled for Monday, May 3. Combining live on-stage sketches with a few pre-recorded videos, Jones and Skinner displayed in their first outing what can sometimes takes years to develop: a tight and cohesive set of absurdist material that flowed smoothly from one sketch to the next, kept the audience guessing, took on God and Betty White, and even coined a new catchphrase. But most importantly, The Crass Monkey was very funny.

“We just want to provide a suitably hilarious sketch comedy show that doesn’t waste your time, or make you think of better comedy shows during ours,” Skinner says. “Our first show was relatively tame, I suppose. But as time goes on, we will test our audience’s ‘crass’ capacity.”

“I’m really shooting for world domination and adoration from all my minions,” says Jones.

Whether the goal is laughs or power, Jones and Skinner do it with a little help from their friends. They met while working together at The Olive Garden in Times Square, and recruited a few fellow Olive Garden employees to fill out the cast for certain sketches. And Olive Garden employee Rob Ryan, who performs stand-up regularly at comedy clubs around the city, provided the opening act.

“The great thing about working in a huge restaurant in the city,” Jones says, “is having a lot of talent to pool from and get inspiration from. Sadly, there are more performers than there are jobs, which is why I think it’s important to create your own opportunities.”

“If there are folks reading this who feel they have something to share with the world — as long as it’s not STD-based — I encourage them to do something about it,” Skinner adds. “Don’t just talk about it. Life’s too short to want to do something without actually doing it.”

The Crass Monkey performs the first and third Monday every month (beginning June 7) at The Mean Fiddler, 266 W. 47th St. (at Eighth Ave.), NYC. $7 at the door.

This story was posted online May 1, 2010 at Blog Stage.