Last night at the Helen Hayes Theatre, Herb tore up the keys while Kiki drank herself into angrier and scathier, even more anarchic rage, in Kiki & Herb's last preview before opening night of their new show, "Alive on Broadway."
Watching this more polished, more directed show, I kept thinking that somehow Kiki's world had finally arrived. She's survived countless tragedies and disappointments, with only a drink and a song to carry her on. As war, disasters, and political stupidity continue to haunt our present, when has Kiki been more relevant? When has the fundamental truth of equal parts outrage and apathy been more exact?
Although the comedy is darker and more deranged than anything I've ever seen, even their old, more chaotic shows at Fez and P.S. 122--Kiki's sloshed banter includes stories of her daughter, Coco, who drowned; her two other children who refuse to acknowledge her existence; child sexual abuse; abandonment; AIDS; and more, more, more--there is real pathos in the theatrics. In fact, I don't know of a more empathetic character.
Kiki is our melancholy, she's our ragged skeletons in the closet. She's our vitriolic disgust with the state of the union, and with the state of our own miserable selves.
During the standing ovation, Kiki becomes, momentarily, Justin Bond, her creator; Herb becomes Kenny Mellman. They have surived their own alter-egos, and--somehow--there is redemption. The world is always separating itself into us against them. But for Kiki, everyone is us.