Laugh Your Way to the End of the World

Comedy ends two days before the Mayan calendar says the world will end

Gabrielle Patacsil

Looking to thumb your nose at the supposed Mayan calendar apocalypse on December 21?

Or, on the flip side, are you seeking some tips to survive the End of Days?

Female comedy troupe ForePlays has you covered with “The New California,” which closes on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

The sketch team—which is a spin-off from the group, PianoFight—has presupposed that after the next big earthquake, California has split off from the rest of the United States and is now its own country.

Just think of all the new beachfront property! ForePlays’ latest shebang was birthed at a group brainstorming session (complete with libations), where the troupe’s writers, directors and performers came up with the theme.

Onstage news reporters will relay the apocalyptic action that has taken place, leaving California separated from the rest of the union.

“We’ve got this sketch with a beginning, middle and end—a news team reporting on the events. One thing we thought would be funny is what would happen if California had an East Coast? What would that be? Where is Tahoe? The Central Valley? What about the east side versus the west side of California?,” said Jessica Mele of ForePlays.

Making fun of Fresno was also a big priority. As the sketches were being formed, ForePlays discovered they didn’t know as much about other parts of the state as they thought, so they centered quite a bit of the action around the Bay Area.

While they were writing sketches, such as one where a nosy neighbor keeps interrupting a husband and wife trying to perform a human sacrifice, reality struck in the form of Sandy. “We’re having a disaster show while there’s an actual disaster going on! We are donating $5 of every VIP ticket to Sandy disaster relief,” Sarah Wright said.

“Comedy is all about dealing with adversity with grace and humor.”

If there happens to be a real earthquake during the performance, ForePlays has a plan of action. “Dealing with a disaster, I think we’d all just use stop, drop and roll,” Rachel Rockwood said.

“Hold a neighbor’s hand,” added Meredith Terry.

Being prepared is important, so I asked ForePlays’ members what item they would grab in case of a true disaster.

“A preserved bear bladder to use as a canteen and maybe my bow and arrows, my quiver,” Meredith said.

Rachel chimed in: “I would say red lipstick to write, ‘Help—and for beauty.”

“The New California” will be performed at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the Traveling Jewish Theater, 470 Florida St., San Francisco.

Check www.facebook/mondaynightforeplays for discount codes and buy your tickets at

Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. In 2011, he published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to or follow him at

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