The world’s longest recorded table tennis rally happened on Mar. 23, 2014. Daniel and Peter Ives kept their volley alive for a total of eight hours, 40 minutes and five seconds at the Plumstead Radical Working Men’s Club in London. The ball lofted back and forth, back and forth — an affirmative ping to answer each curious pong.
To achieve the volley’s remarkable longevity, the Ives brothers had to be on the same wavelength, reciprocating each other’s calm and collected manner as they approached the world record.
In a similar fashion to the professional table tennis players, the Sklar Brothers were on the same comedic wavelength during their show this past Friday. Randy and Jason Sklar exercised an identical rhythm to that of Daniel and Peter Ives, only in the context of stand-up comedy.
The twins returned to Ann Arbor, their old college stomping ground, this weekend in a homecoming performance at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase.
I arrived early to the 10:30 p.m. performance in the classic basement club and was seated spitting-distance from the microphones. The brothers met a welcoming round of applause as they took the stage and opened with a funny-because-it’s-true jab at Ann Arbor’s ceaseless construction. The rest of the show contained a blend of jokes written for parents and jokes written for Democrats (the Sklar Brothers knew their audience).
That said, the material was sophisticated enough to earn the label of well-crafted comedy without being distant from the intended audience of graduated Ann Arborites. Even though I do not fit the profile of a graduated Ann Arborite parent, I still found myself laughing with every punchline, delivered like a volley-return.
After graduating from the University in 1994, the Sklar Brothers moved to New York to begin their successful comedy careers, making appearances on shows such as HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Law and Order,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and their series on the History Channel, “The United States of America.”
The duo act in stand-up comedy is a bold one, yet the Sklar Brothers exceeded expectations with a masterful cadence and a satisfying flow to each bit.
As a duo act, two comedians must devote extra time and effort to the coordination, collaboration and choreography of any given set. The Sklar Brothers are no exception to this added challenge, but the two were able to deliver their material in a manner that showed preparedness and deep knowledge of the set without seeming too rehearsed. Each joke was a satisfying blend between the two comedians, as though they were having a normal (hilarious) conversation.
Watching the Sklar Brothers is like watching two professional table tennis players keep a casual volley going for the fun of it. I mean that in the best way possible — these are truly talented performers with the comedic equivalent of the table tennis expertise displayed by Daniel and Peter Ives. If my Friday night could consist of watching the Sklar Brothers play comedic ping-pong for eight hours, 40 minutes and five seconds, I would consider that a Friday night well-spent.