A couple years ago, comedian Raanan Hershberg made his way over to some of my open mic variety shows, and I was blown away by his stage presence. I was doubly blown away when he surprised me one night and left his comedy behind to share some of his poetry, which was chock full of social commentary. I began to call him "Every man's poet" as he mixed his commentary with gross bathroom humor. His blend of humor and deep thought make him perfectly suited for a one-man show, and that is what he finally put forth last Saturday (March 30) at the Bardstown.
Broke, High, and Horny was a moving humorous commentary on Raanan's experience with FDA approved drugs like Adderall, suicidal thoughts, gay rights, Social Media and...well, masturbation.
Sounds like a fun night,right? Don't let the topics fool you. The audience was rocked with laughter for the full hour and a half and a standing ovation ensued. It wasn't just "young degenerates" 'either. The audience was a mixed crowd with quite a few people in their golden years also being touched by the deeply moving presentation Hershberg gave.
As Hershberg switched between telling jokes and sharing poetry, Jake Reber provided musical accompaniment on the stand-up bass for some poems and ukelele for others. He deserves his own kudos for being so still in the background for the entire show. The humorous drawings by Mark Parris projected behind Hershberg also added a great touch, tying the whole atmosphere together.
The production was well done, the house was packed with many standing in the back, and Hershberg has shown a tremendous amount of growth as an artist. Most impressive was his comfortable presence on stage and his open vulnerability as he broached topics most people won't. He not only broached the topics; he successfully managed to weave them into a hypnotizing web and capture the audience within it. Bravo. I can't wait to see the tour.
Photograph: (by Jessica Lynn) People file in for Broke, High, and Horny, a one man show by Raanan Hershberg