John Gilkey, clown emeritus of Cirque Du Soleil, is taking root at the Climate Theater to host his own talk show Monday nights. He sticks to the standard talk show format, including opening monologue, guests, and even a cozy desk complete with reading lamp.

Thankfully, that’s where the comparisons to the stale, late night television version end.  Gilkey dissects the format like a finely honed scalpel, using the standard mainstays but with inventive twists. For starters, there are two masochistic whipping boys, Alex and Donny, perpetually perched like comic gargoyles  at the mercy of Gilkey’s mercurial whims ranging from horrible jokes to lap dances for the guests. Think of a DNA splice between the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz with Stephen Wright and you’re in the ballpark. Then there’s the hyper-ebullient, hyper-attractive Jane, his saxophone playing musical sidekick furnishing delightfully upbeat musical weirdness throughout.

Full disclosure: I am a technician for the show. But even if I weren’t, it would be the perfect way to start a work week. It’s casual, it’s fun, and it’s weird enough to make you appreciate talk shows again. Next week’s guest is Joan Mankin, who will most likely offer a show not to be missed.

The Gilkey Show – starring John Gilkey (tickets)
The Climate Theatre, 285 9th Street at Folsom
Running continuously on Monday nights at 8PM
Reservations: (415) 263-0830

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