Flavorpill March, 2009
Two Girls for Five Bucks sounds cheap, but really it’s a steal. This sketch-comedy duo’s show — complete with the Ten-Dollar Heartbreakers music trio — is not only really well put together, but damn funny, too. The ladies, Cathleen and Daiva, are each their own kind of crazy. We get to know them through sketches, witty transitional banter, and some truly quirky video clips. The Heartbreakers are along for the entire ride, unfazed by the strangeness that surrounds them.
– Amanda Cooper
The Comic’s Comic March, 2009
Two Girls For Five Bucks and The Ten Dollar Heartbreakers
It had been a few years since I last saw Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree (aka Two Girls For Five Bucks) perform live onstage in Boston, and when I heard they had re-staged their sketch show with a live band this month at Ars Nova in NYC, I wasn’t sure how they’d incorporate a band into their act. Turns out they did so quite seamlessly. And as they told me after last night’s show, they managed to rework their entire show to include the three-piece band, The Ten Dollar Heartbreakers, all in less than a month! Wow. If I hadn’t known about their earlier stage incarnation, I would have thought Carr and Deupree had been working with musicians Vinny Commisso, Justin Levine and Matthew Stoulil for much much longer than that. Drummer Commisso and bass player Stoulil had previously backed Adira Amram in an Ars Nova show, and the theater wisely asked them and pianist Levine to see what more than a little musicality could add to the Two Girls show. Carr and Deupree have a well-established comedy dynamic going, with Carr playing the married woman who leads an otherwise stable (read: boring) life and debates whether she should have kids, while Deupree plays the more energetic and physical role as the forever single who feels as though her love life is pathetic. They’ve playfully compared themselves to the Today show’s Kathie Lee and Hoda, and if you find yourself laughing at the fourth hour of NBC’s morning programming on a regular basis, then you’ll be similarly treated here as Carr and Deupree play co-workers hosting a bachelorette party gone awry (“Your vagina is a dead ringer for Diane Sawyer!”), fall asleep together on the LIRR, and find themselves helping one another as military wives in the 1940s. They share embarrassing photographs from their childhood. Deupree gets her own moment to shine in a sexy funny rendition of “You Can Keep Your Hat On.” And there’s a finale that relives Deupree’s dreams from the night before that helps to show off the added production values that Ars Nova has given to Two Girls. Throughout, the band is more than just three guys in the corner. They participate in a series of new videos Two Girls shot for this production, literally “populating the stage” as director Andy Donald calls it, and they get to show off their musical chops during the interludes. Impressive all around.
The New York Press February, 2008
When I realized that Two Girls for Five Bucks was going to be a two-woman comedy show about dating foibles, I was wary. Not that I have anything against women, or dating, but I do find it troubling that so many all-female shows are all about men. Call me new-fashioned, but it seems to reinforce the patriarchal notion that the most interesting thing about women is how they relate to men. Indeed, throughout most of Two Girls for Five Bucks, men were the elephant in the room. In their mash-up of storytelling and sketch comedy, Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree play a parade of pathetic characters, all of them young women; they moon over men, throw themselves at men and long to be completed by men. In one pantomime sketch, a barren spinster ogles her neighbor, shouting, “I will marry you so hard!” “Independent Woman Part I” this was not. And yet, Two Girls eventually won me over. The characters were neurotic, quirky and engaging, and Carr and Deupree committed to them with bracing energy. Ultimately, although the show revolved around relationships with men, the women on stage were the most interesting thing. Carr and Deupree are at their best when they take off their costumes and play themselves. In two storytelling segments-one about how their parents met and one about how they lost their virginity-the two girls use their comfortable charisma to elicit belly laughs. I’ve never seen The Vagina Monologues, but I’d imagine this is what those monologists would sound like after swallowing a Xanax and a funny pill. Not that the stories were particularly racy; in fact, they were almost wholesome. Some of the biggest laughs came from innocuous details, like what song was on the radio. The show’s website describes the experience as a “hilarious romp of loneliness, insecurity, and desperation.” This is hardly a motto of empowerment. But at least it’s their desperation. And at least it’s entertaining.
- Andrew Marantz
The New York Press Blog February, 2008
I celebrated Valentine’s Day last night by going to Viva La Diva, a “caburlesque show” at Ars Nova hosted by Bridget Everett. I admit, I’m still new to all this female empowerment through performance thing. So I was amused when Mel and El did a hilarious dance and song number that loosely parodied Madonna’s “Vogue,” singing “F-A-G + Magnet= I’m a Fagnet” explaining their miraculous phenomenon of attracting gay men with their fagremones (pheremones). But I also felt frightened when I heard what sounded like vengeance in their voices. I felt the same way as I watched Daiva Deupree of Two Girls For Five Bucks do her sketch of a desperate dumped girlfriend on her cell calling her ex at a bar on Valentine’s Day. It all had a little too much emotional honesty that hit a little too close to home. While others laughed, I couldn’t help but feel this was an actual re-enactment of what I’ve seen countless times in real life with real women. We can pretend to laugh at so-called hyperbole, but the sad thing is it really isn’t hyperbole, and our laughter’s a disguise for panic. So do women really want or need to see the horrible things society does to women replayed on stage? A good portion of the audience were gay couples. The women who were there were there with men. I was with my friend Eric, a free-spirited hippie who had frolicked down the street on our way to the show saying, “It’s Valentine’s Day, what a wonderful holiday, love is in the air!” Naturally, in his high spirits, he found the show “great and joyful and humorous.” He thought the “beauty” of the show lay in the women’s ability to address real issues and be able to laugh at them. But as a woman, I found it difficult to be able to laugh freely, it only seemed to be dredging up my own anxieties. I did definitely feel something happening during the show…I couldn’t pinpoint what it was exactly until a man waiting in line for the bathroom said, “It’s sexual liberation here because they’re taking control and power of the sexual dynamics.” Maybe in this pretend space called theater. And no one said catharsis is supposed to be easy.
- Victoria Moy
Gotham Magazine December, 2007
“Sketch comedy is never a sure bet, but when it’s good, it can be amazing – and these gals always deliver.”
The Bostonist December, 2005
Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree explore the darker side of lady-likeness in “Two Girls for Five Bucks”. Born just over a year ago in Beantown’s backyard, ”Two Girls for Five Bucks” has since expanded to New York City but returned home this month for their first annual “Two Girls for Five Bucks, Holiday Pageant.” Last night, Bostonist was lucky enough to be at the Improv Asylum (where these two ladies are also main stage alums) to witness what Carr and Deupree describe as a ”collage of lonely ladies who do desperate things.” The show rolls right into funny. Literally, Carr and Deupree enter as dateless skating teens at the roller disco left to slow dance with each other. Each sketch introduces the audience into yet another familiar female: the desperately unstable cat-loving divorcée, the sadly obsessed ex-girlfriend leaving tearfully awkward messages on her old beau’s voicemail, and perhaps our favorite: the duo of ”never married” ladies from Human Resources who are drunkenly exposing themselves at the office holiday party. In between sketches, Carr and Deupree break character to casually share their personal tales of losing their loves, their virginity, and their cool, revealing the real life inspiration for their show. Indeed, art does imitate life. Without self-deprecation or cliche, ”Two Girls for Five Bucks” presented an honest and intimate look into the hopeful yet fanatical mind and heart of the modern single woman. Deupree put it best when in talking about her upbringing noted, ”I was raised neurotic enough to be funny.” Yes, funny and smart. This intelligent anti-chick flick buffet is not exclusively endearing to just females; the boys will appreciate the refreshing and insightful twist on modern womanhood. “Two Girls for Five Bucks” could just be what makes Jerry Lewis start to like female comics. If Wal-Lex ever re-opens, we’d like to take Carr and Deupree on a date, until then Bostonist will eagerly await another scheduled performance.
Two Girls = five bucks.
The ability to laugh at loneliness = priceless.
- Giulia Rozzi