Defiant Thomas Brothers | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Defiant Thomas Brothers

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Defiant Thomas Brothers, at Frankie J's MethaDome Theatre. Even the Annoyance brand of taboo-busting comedy rarely creeps past a seven or eight on the bad-taste-o-meter--and the Defiant Thomas Brothers never turn the dial any higher in this sketch collection. Still, watching the two gore sacred cows generates the same feverish excitement as stumbling on a stack of old Richard Pryor or Bill Hicks records. Seth and Paul Thomas--unrelated blood brothers--are remnants of an era before political correctness; their show is part underground anything-goes comedy routine, part full-on happening.

There's enough indecorous filth that sizable portions of this hour-long show come across as pandering to college kids. But the two aren't afraid to overturn expectations: a potentially treacherous riff on the E2 nightclub tragedy does a complete 180 and turns into a scene about passion crimes and adultery. And the show's been running long enough that the performers' comic timing is exquisite, as in a crafty, rapid-fire "Who's on first?" exchange between a pot dealer and his client. The Thomas Brothers' staunch antiestablishment, nonconformist approach is best exemplified in a father's sage advice to his son: "It doesn't really matter if you kill somebody or forget to take out the trash." In their world both are a little bit wrong--but completely hilarious.

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