Winner – Best of Fringe, San Francisco 2017

Winner – SOLD OUT Award (2x), San Francisco Fringe 2017

Winner – Artists’ Choice Award, Edmonton Fringe 2017

Winner – 3rd Place, PianoFight’s ShortLived Competition, 2015

 

Lily Janiak, SF Chronicle, writes:

Naked Empire Bouffon Company’s “You F—ing Earned it” gives a much smarter, funnier and more harrowing takedown of American entitlement. Wearing Bouffon’s signature swollen costumes and ghostly makeup, creators and performers Sabrina Wenske and Cara McClendon envision a tour in the Congo that includes a stop at an in-progress rape and sing lyrics that rhyme “coup d’etat” and “cha cha cha.” Director Nathaniel Justiniano keeps the pace zany, so that you can barely process each outrageous gag, but every once in a while, the pair of clowns turn toward the audience with forbidding frowns or grotesque grins. It’s a fitting image of our rapacious capitalism — a joke you’re in on, until it morphs into primal nightmare.

George Heymont, Huffington Post, writes:

Whether impersonating sex slaves, orangutans, black holes, or preening yoga moms, the two clowns go about explaining America’s long and unfortunate history of economic imperialism with graphic depictions of the banana trade and an edgy performance of the “other” verses written by Katharine Lee Bates for “America the Beautiful.” Their performance of “Hungry Mungry” transforms Shel Silverstein’s poem into a timely and jaw-dropping demonstration of agitprop theatre.

I tip my hat to Wenske and McClendon, two agile and absolutely fearless clowns who are perfectly at ease riffing with their audience, leading spectators to the edge of a dramatic precipice and then letting them teeter on the edge of discomfort before dragging them onstage to participate in a “spontaneous theatrical event” that makes use of smartphones (in a deliciously subversive way) to prop up their sense of self-importance. If theatrical pablum is your favorite form of entertainment, head for another theatre where you can cling to the fourth wall for safety. You Fucking Earned It is devilishly dangerous theatre.

 

Audiences:

Denise (Writer and Performer – Rebel Seer) on said:

They kind of reminded me of a sex partners, lovers or friends that you’re both attracted to and repulsed by. The kind who bring out your deepest desires and then afterwards if you’re not being honest – you try to say “they made me do that.” Sabrina and Cara take you into parts of yourself that you might not want to own- but since they are up there owning all of themselves the beautiful, the grotesque and the things that are both- why not join in?

Jaye (Writer: A Day At The Beach) on said:

An excellent piece performed beautifully. From the pantamime elements done to perfection to the semi-forced audience participation this show has everything a FRINGE FESTIVAL should have…and Deserves. You should’ve seen this show…you fucking earned it!

Jay Martin on said:

This show is what the Fringe is. I went to see a genre I didn’t know (bouffon clowning) but saw much more: smart political comedy, pushy social commentary, and performers completely attentive to each other and to us in the audience.

Dante D DeAmicis on said:

Beyond a doubt, this is the best of the show. This “anti clowning” is also morphing of Commedia physical theater into modern times. Humor about things that should not be funny. You’ll be tickled and pin pricked continuously. The two actors tore down the fourth wall right from the beginning and never gave the audience a chance to rebuild it. Non stop action that didn’t allow the actors or audience a chance to catch their breath. A dozen skits that seamlessly blended from one to another so the effect was more of a frequency change. It took the Fringe’s two musicals a large cast, music numbers, and choreography to create the energy of these two actors.

Elena Wagoner on said:

What a fantastic show! I highly recommend it! The performers gave everything they had to make the audience laugh and cringe in the best possible ways. Their writing was phenomenal, mostly hilarious with intense moments of cringeworthy insight into modern life and chilling beauty. These are two extremely talented clowns and it was such a treat to see them perform! Brava!

Dana on said:

Tremendous show. Darkly funny and mesmerizing. I didn’t know it could feel so good to feel so bad about everything.

Bárbara Selfridge on said:

What a great show! Two ladies with smart political humor and irreverent physical humor. The birth of civilization goes OB-GYN graphic…

Bela Nguyen on said:

Smart, hilarious, and overall awesome show. Do yourself a favor and go see it. Because you fucking earned it.

Sophia on said:

San Francisco is already pretty “outside of the box”, “different”, “edgy”, “eccentric”….  This show goes 10000 times beyond that. YFEI is a rare opportunity to see raw satire in the shape of Bouffon. Don’t miss iiiiiiiitttttttt.

Be Wilson on said:

You Fucking Earned It will leave you feeling something for sure. A dark and beautifully grotesque reflection in the mirror held up to human nature. Funny, clever, and leaves you looking inward at the bubbling pustules of guilt and indifference blighting our very souls. 10/10

Edna Raia on said:

Bouffon clowns are the premium jesters of society, the non-relatable clowns you hate because they make you see your mistakes. ‘You Fucking Earned It’ is a brilliant lesson in conscious selfishness. Naked Bouffon Empire Co punches every first world problem you have in the stomach, making you regurgitate a heart-sized turd so you can reflect on where you last took a shit and who it landed on. Go see it; you deserve it.

Kevin Singer on said:

*****
This was a real treat. What begins as an admittedly “remedial” performative metaphor, builds on itself and develops into a hilarious and disturbing critique of excess. With Bouffon, performers don’t so much “hold a mirror and force you to look.” It’s more like they invite you to willfully embrace–and accept–the things you do that make you terrible. Like a really fun carnival ride that makes you kind of want to vomit afterward but it was worth it. Yeah. Highly recommended to folks looking for something funny, thought-provoking, and original! Brava!

Dan Carbone on said:

Terrific over the top performances by 2 highly skilled clowns. Hits the bull’s eye! Highly recommended!

Henry on said:

In “You Fucking Earned It”, Sabrina Wenske and Cara McClendon use the art of Bouffon to mock modern Western culture. You will cringe as they highlight your complicity in evils such as imperialism and entitlement. You will also laugh your ass off. The ability to evoke both responses at once is one of the great strengths of Bouffon. McClendon and Wenske use their warped, gnomish Bouffon bodies to great effect, sometimes building on the shapes and other times letting them contrast absurdly with the characters they depict. It’s a very physical performance, and while related to clowning, the difference both in the visual aesthetic and in the more confrontational relationship with the audience make the experience really stand out. Go see it!
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