To Bob’s Burgers fans’ delight, the cast of Fox’s animated comedy stopped in Milwaukee for a live show this past Saturday evening. The cast, along with the show’s creator, Loren Bouchard, sang, goofed off, and laughed at their own jokes on the Riverside Theater’s stage.
Dan Mintz plays the eldest of Bob Belcher’s three children, Tina. He’s one of two male actors who play female characters in the show. Mintz, known for his nasally, monotone voice, kicked off a series of stand-up sets by each actor. Throughout his show, he didn’t pace or move around the stage at all. Rather, he stood motionless before the microphone, one hand held limply against his chest, and delivered one-liners reminiscent of those that made comedian Steven Wright famous.
Voice actor for the youngest Belcher, Louise, honored World Poetry Day with a skit. Kristen Schaal played Emily Dickinson’s posthumous soul, stuck in limbo. She finds her own poem hidden on stage, and, in the wispy, pained voice of an artist, asks an audience member to read it aloud. It’s a shopping list.
Eugene Mirman, who plays brother Gene Belcher, showed the audience his colorful LinkedIn profile. As his skills, he listed marketing and surgery, among
One of the more shocking experiences for the audience was to see the mustached face of the Belcher matriarch, John Roberts. The actor unleashed an alter-ego, Cousin Joe. The crass character sports a thick, east coast accent and laughs boisterously after every punchline. Still, Roberts couldn’t help but slip in and out of Linda’s persona throughout his set.
H. Jon Benjamin — voice of Bob Belcher and Archer — was met with wild applause as he took the stage. Though his comedy could be considered somewhat dry, it didn’t keep his audience from showing its love for the voice actor. Benjamin spent most of his set reciting the chronology of a less-than-famous band he said he found on the internet. What was so funny about it? Not too much, other than the constant resigning and returning of the vague band’s drummer, Don Gray. I found myself distracted by a flickering stage light after the third time the Gray decided to quit. As a die-hard fan of Benjamin’s, it’s hard for me to admit it, but I might attribute much of the applause and laughter that the audience gave for the bit on the actor’s notably deep, constantly sarcastic voice.
After the stand-up concluded, Bouchard took the stage with a ukulele swung over his back. Roberts joined him on stage to play Linda’s Harry Truman song. Mirman even joined to sing Gene’s own diddy from the show, which goes something like, “I’m not afraid of ghosts. I’m not afraid of sharks. I’m not afraid of cancer. I’m just afraid of snakes!”
The cast finished of the night with a table read of one upcoming episode of Bob’s Burgers. Larry Murphy, who voices Teddy, wasn’t present at the show, so Bouchard played the regular to Bob’s burger joint. Together, the cast read aloud two acts of an episode in which the Belcher’s enter a very rich and very dead man’s empty vacation home only to find that he may have been killed by his wife. Linda, with pressure from Louise, becomes bent on exposing the homeowner’s wife for the murder of her husband — until the accused shows up unexpectedly at the house.
The curtains couldn’t close without an audience Q & A session. The cast read off questions written for them by audience members. The last, however, was a shocker.
Bouchard read a wedding proposal from a “Jon B”. Benjamin confessed his desire to propose to Dan Mintz. Sadly, Mintz politely rejected the motion and the eleven dollars Benjamin had handed him as a token of love.
Overall, the show was everything I expected it to be: a light-hearted depiction of Bob’s Burgers behind the scenes and a showcase of the actors’ talents. If anything, the live show made me even more excited to see the next episode of the animated one. Although Benjamin’s stand-up was weak compared to that of his fellow voice actors, it didn’t squash my enthusiasm for his voice acting or Bob’s Burgers as a whole. And seeing the comaraderie the actors shared offered me even more reason to tune in for the next episode, which I would bet they had a fantastic time creating, from start to finish.
Bob’s Burgers Live is off to Upper Darby, Pa. next, then New York City, and finally Boston, Mass. The show is in its fifth season airing on Fox on Sundays at 6:30 pm.