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COMEDY : Women Dress the Parts in 'Moms and Other Crazy Ladies'

October 01, 1992|DENNIS McLELLAN | Dennis McLellan is a Times staff writer who regularly covers comedy for O.C. Live!

To the high-energy strains of the Blues Brothers' theme song, two middle-aged blondes burst on stage in black jackets and hats, kicking, jumping, high-fiving and waving at the audience. As the music segues to the theme from "Superman," Edie Matthews and Diane Conway tear off their jackets to reveal blue Superwoman costumes. Then they break into Peggy Lee's "I'm a Woman."

Welcome to "Moms and Other Crazy Ladies."

Matthews and Conway, whose "No Stinkin' Dishes Tour" stops at Comedy Land in Huntington Beach tonight and again on Sunday, bill their act as "a show that real women can relate to." Conway has described it as a cross between "Queen for a Day" and "In Living Color," a "tribute to women, bad perms, ex-husbands, screaming kids, diets that don't work and sagging bodies."

"It's created especially for women who are bombarded by advertisers but are ignored by the entertainment industry," Matthews said by phone from her home in Santa Clara.

Both she and Conway are married, although--as Matthews noted--Conway didn't get married until she was 36 "so she talks a lot about dating every dysfunctional man in North America. She says maybe what they should do is put these kind of men on the backs of milk cartons--'He said he'd call' . . . "

"Women just don't have anything that's positive, funny or upbeat that's specifically for them and their point of view," Matthews said. "The show is not anti-men. But that's not to say we don't talk about the funny things they do and the differences between men and women."

Take her own husband of "20-plus" years, for example. "He always likes to send me out on his little errands to like some auto supply store where you don't have a clue to what they're talking about. Right away I knew I was in the wrong store when I saw a cleaning product called Gunk. I asked myself, 'Isn't that like having a deodorant named B.O.?"'

A mother of four whose Erma Bombeck-styled jokes always broke up her friends, Matthews began dabbling in stand-up in 1983 and soon gave up her day job as a technical writer.

On stage, she would "talk a lot about being married and having four kids. . . . I'd just kind of report stuff. My son actually accumulated so many tickets they put him on a time payment plan. I thought 'This isn't all bad. Now he can use the Highway Patrol as a credit reference.' "

Conway, who lives in San Rafael and whose resume lists everything from secretary to taxi driver, speaks professionally on the topic "Life Is Too Important To Be Taken Seriously." She appeared for 2 1/2 years in a show in the Bay Area called "Comedy Camp for Mommies." She and Matthews teamed up earlier this year and did their first show together in April.

As their opening number suggests, "Moms and Other Crazy Ladies" is heavy on wardrobe changes ("It's a lot like stand-up theater," Matthews said). In one routine, Conway plays beautician Dixie Rose Lee, owner of Glamorama, who wears a gaudy costume that resembles an overgrown flower garden. She says she bought it on the Home Shopping Network and, because she was one of the first 200 callers, "I got the gloves free. . . . I thank God every day for my ability to accessorize."

For a routine on diets, Matthews wears a workout suit. ("I'm always on a diet; I'm trying to get down to the weight on my license.") For a segment in which she talks about being a mom, she comes out dressed as June Cleaver. At the end of the routine, she rips off the costume to reveal bicycle shorts and a hooded jacket.

Donning sunglasses and a sequined hat, she breaks into "The Mom Rap":

You got some nerve, you got some gall,

To ask me if you can go to the mall.

I don't think it's cute, I don't think its funny .

The only time you're nice is when you want my money. . . . "

*

Who: Moms and Other Crazy Ladies.

When: Thursday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 4, at 8 p.m.

Where: Comedy Land at Tibbie's Music Hall, 16360 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach.

Whereabouts: Take the Seal Beach Boulevard exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway and go west. Turn left onto Pacific Coast Highway. Tibbie's Music Hall is at Peter's Landing, on the corner of Anderson Street.

Wherewithal: $12.

Where to call: (714) 979-5653.

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