Standing before a 40-piece orchestra and gazing out at a sold-out Carnegie Hall, Seth MacFarlane reflected, “I look at this magnificent collection of musicians behind me and I think, Jesus, I’m just doing the world’s most expensive karaoke.”
That was just one of the odd juxtapositions evident at “Family Guy Sings!,” a two-night (Nov.24-25) comedy-and-music extravaganza based on MacFarlane’s animated Fox sitcom. Another was watching him and the show’s cast — Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Danny Smith, Mike Henry — read two complete episodes from the stage: The performance suggested a bizarre pastiche of theater, television, and old-time radio.
Front and center, though, was MacFarlane’s two wildly divergent obsessions—ribald humor, and the American songbook. The troupe belted out fan faves like “Prom Night Dumpster Baby” as well as in-character versions of “I’ve Got a Little List” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado” and “Shipoopi” from “The Music Man.”
Things got edgier—and more hilarious—when MacFarlane and Borstein explored the dark side of the Frank Loesser standard, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and went downright X-rated with a re-reading of the 1978 Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond hit, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore.”
For the pre-holiday Gotham crowd, it was “Family” entertainment at its finest.
--- Mike Flaherty