'Honkey' Improv Team Wins Hilarious Contest

Houseful of Honkeys is a relatively new comedy group on the block. In "You Bet Your Honkey," an evening of improv at the Acme Comedy Theatre, the Honkeys carve a distinctive niche in the glutted local comedy scene.

Like most improv teams, the Honkeys concoct their scenes based on set exercises and suggestions from the audience. And, like most improv teams, they sometimes fall flat. However, when a suggestion catches fire, which it does more often than not, the Honkeys are flat-out hilarious, a well-oiled laugh machine.

The Honkeys consist of Jonathan Mangum, David Russell, Matt Young, Clare Sera, Wayne Brady, Joel McCrary and Danno Sullivan. The evening is couched in a game-show format. Two volunteers from the audience, vying for the grand jackpot of "up to $54," choose teams from among the players. The teams then perform dueling comedy sketches, with the audience "judging" by its applause and laughter. At the end of each round, the volunteers choose from among various prizes, which on this occasion included a "gay" purple Teletubby and drain sealant.

Live music, played by Jonathan Green, keeps things lively. And when the Honkeys are on a roll, you'll be rolling too. Oh, one thing: If you do happen to win that $54 jackpot--be prepared to make change.

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* "You Bet Your Honkey," Acme Comedy Theatre, 135 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. Fridays only, 8:30 p.m. $8. (323) 525-0202. Running time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.

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