Must-See: Unitard: House of Tards (OUT Magazine, By David Clarke March 24 2015 )

UniTard-GAYLETTERUnitard, the sketch comedy trio formed by Mike Albo, Nora Burns, and David Ilku have a new show, titled House of Tards, causing plenty of diehard fans to cheer. But I’m new to their shtick, and I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing out loud or quietly appalled.

Take the monologue in which Ilku portrays a member of the Islamic terrorist organization, ISIS. While some in the audience were keeling over in laughter, my inner Southern boy was disturbed by the ISIS bit. To this, Ilku says:

“One of the magical things about comedy is making people uncomfortable. When a room is uncomfortable, eventually the tension has to break, and it breaks in the form of a laugh. So, you just keep pushing until they can’t take it anymore. Then, eventually, someone cracks and laughs because it’s just too absurd.” If that sounds like it’s too much to handle, Nora Burns would like to remind you that “with our show everything is pretty short. If you don’t like it, it’ll be over in three minutes.”

Other hilarious sketches introduce the audience to a particularly awful babysitter, the prize accessory of a G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend), everyday people utterly distraught over the passing of celebrities, Facebook narcissists, and more.

“We usually start with things that annoy us in life: people being selfish, people being evil,” Mike Albo explains as to the inspiration for these sketches and monologues. Or as Burns elaborates: “It’s so fun to be a nasty character or just to comment on things we find funny. We all have this sort of similar pop-culture, gay sensibility. It’s just fun. We’ll all riff off each other and come up with the next thing we have to do.”

Unitard: House of Tards is packed with edgy humor that playfully flirts with the fine line between being hysterical and a twinge offensive. Forget political correctness. Yet, they also don’t intend to demean or poke fun at any marginalized groups of persons either. So the result is comedy that is off-kilter with laughs intended for self-aware audiences that are capable of thinking on their own. “I don’t even know how to be mainstream, honestly,” Albo admits. “I’ll never get on stage and be like, ‘Don’t you hate cats?’ I’m not going to be that person.”

Performing at Stonewall, it’s clear that queer-identifying folks are an audience target, but the trio insists that’s not the only people who will enjoy the show. “We’re all old-school New Yorkers. David and I have been in New York since 1979,” acknowledges Burns. So anyone who has, as Albo puts it, “experienced a degree of political corruption, gentrification, and has seen how people can be greedy,” will enjoy their commentary. So, why Stonewall? “We don’t want to charge a lot of money. We want to keep it so people can afford to go out, have a full belly laugh, and have a drink and not break their budget,” Ilku explains. “Greed is killing New York, and all the great, little performance spaces are just disappearing. So, thank God, that Stonewall is cool and great and has opened their arms to us,” he expounds.

As if being intellectual comedy meant for cultured peoples isn’t enough, Unitard is endorsed by celebrities such as Debbie Harry. She was in the audience, along with funny lady Julie Klausner, for the opening night performance at Stonewall Inn. During their run in L.A., Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, RuPaul, and Lady Bunny enjoyed the clever trio.

Unitard: House of Tards continues through April 23. For tickets visit, UnitardComedy.com.

Tard Nation: A Review of HOUSE OF TARDS (boyculture.com, March 21, 2015)

House of Tards is the second biggest riot the Stonewall Inn has ever seen.

The revue, by three-person comedy team Unitard, is a series of sketches that do what Second City and SNL have always done, but haven’t done well in decades. That’s why the show feels classic and brand-new at the same time.

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Made up of Mike Albo (who generously flashed scrotum and bare ass the night I saw it for no reason except thank you), Nora Burns and David Ilku, the performers do pieces solo and together. They don’t go there, they start there.

Then…they go there.

The show’s best bits are painfully funny routines about NYC’s dying downtown scene (Debbie Harry, who opens at the Carlyle shortly, was in the front row) and the phenomenon of grief tourists on Facebook who suddenly become a famous person’s biggest fan once they’re dead. That’s Unitard’s forte, identifying social trends and deciding, with humor, what they mean.

Unitard has fangs, but everybody has fangs these days. The difference is that Unitard has the brains to know how and when and if to use the fangs, and also the heart to try stuff that is definitely going to rub some people the wrong way.

Precious little of House of Tards fails to amuse (a terrorist stand-up act was both brilliant and gross, but was ultimately too distractingly interesting).

There is no MVP here; all of the performers shine equally, making them one of the best threesomes you’ll ever watch outside of your computer.

House of Tards plays through April 9 at the Stonewall Inn.

– See more at: http://www.boyculture.com/boy_culture/2015/03/tard-nation-a-review-of-house-of-tards.html#sthash.MSizsvvD.dpuf