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Well Hello, Provincetown

July 19, 2017 1:13 pm0 commentsViews: 25
Photo: Toban Nichols

Photo: Toban Nichols

by Steve Desroches

To date Deven Green’s work is best described by her first ever performance in front of an audience: as a professional figure skater. Born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, Green zipped around the ice rinks of our gentle neighbor to the north’s arenas. Axels, spins, jumps—all the seemingly disparate parts of a skating performance meld together to form a narrative. Comic, model, singer, LGBTQ rights advocate, viral video cult actor, satirical master, social media celebrity, television guest star, advice columnist, college and university speaker, as well as a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, Green’s resume looks like the makings of a long program at the Winter Olympics, full of leaps and landings that on their own dazzle, but put together, make for one of the most unique and compelling careers in the Internet era.

Many know her for her “Welcome to My Home” videos and the character Mrs. Betty Bowers: America’s Best Christian, but Green will be doing something completely different when she arrives to make her Provincetown debut this week: a night of comedy and music with her electric ukulele.

“I have special guests every show, and the special guest is you, “ says Green. “ We’re just having fun together. There’s something that unites people about a sing-along. Remember, because I was brought up in Canada I’m never out to shame, insult, or embarrass anyone. The whole thing about the show is to unite people.”

Talking with Green is at times akin to getting a piggyback ride from her as she takes you on a verbal triple Salchow jump or a Biellmann spin, emitting a contagious spray of giggles and sparkle. She is, in short, hilarious. But she comes at her humor from a rakish angle, close to the ground and under the radar. It soon doesn’t matter if she is joking or not, as sometimes it’s hard to tell. That ability to glide right into the sweet spot of a joke, drawing from often bizarre source material, gives Green a drone-like ability to view our culture from on high and drop the comedy like a Stealth Bomber.

It’s the style and talent that first brought Green to the public eye in a big way with her parody videos “Welcome to My Home,” in which she provided a comedic voice to the very real videos of the same name released in 1987 with soap opera actress Brenda Dickson giving a tour of her own house and her wardrobe as well as sharing beauty secrets. The original self-produced documentary was perplexing on its own, but after Green got her hands on it, it became downright sublime and one of the first video works to go viral in the YouTube age. She’s since made a sequel “Welcome to My White House,” featuring her voice over a real interview with Melania Trump. And now, as the culture wars heat up again, Green presents one of the most relevant and devastatingly funny bits of satire portraying Mrs. Betty Bowers: America’s Best Christian, a character created and written by Andrew Bradley, which lampoons the Christian right and now, Donald Trump and the Republicans.

“We’ve been doing satire up until Trump’s election,” says Green. “Now it feels like we just present the facts; pass judgment and present facts.”

The show that Green is bringing to Provincetown is not her character work, though. Rather, she’ll perform on the electric ukulele, presenting a variety of musical genres in this largely improvised comedy show cum sing-along. It’s a bit like a Peter Seeger concert with good jokes and a more stylish host. An alumna of the Toronto cast of the Second City improvisational theater troupe, Green has a keen sense of how to corral an audience’s energy into a literal chorale of both songs and laughs. Green has headlined with acts as diverse as Salt-N-Pepa, Jody Watley, Trixie Mattel, and Jinkx Monsoon, playing everywhere from Las Vegas’s Onyx Theatre to a men’s prison to a clothing optional gay campground in the Poconos.

Now based in Los Angeles, Green has long heard about Provincetown. She’s ready for this new adventure, as she speaks with the enthusiasm of someone who’s just found a treasure map and is preparing to swap coasts. She gasps when she learns that her home for the week – Rose and Crown guesthouse –  is the very same place where Wayland Flowers and Madame lived when in town back in the Seventies. And after she performs her three-night gig at the Sage Inn, she’ll be busking and holding court in the front patio of the storied guesthouse, starting at “about noon-ish.” Be it there or on stage at Sage, Green always takes request – she just might not actually play the song, but you’ll be delighted nonetheless.

“Some people like to try and mess me up by yelling out requests for Metallica or Dr. Dre,” says Green. “I’m like, ‘Girl, come on now. I’ve got that covered.’ I’m like Amazon. If I don’t have the crap you’re looking for I have some crap just like it.”

Deven Green performs at the Sage Inn, 336 Commercial St., Provincetown, Monday, July 24 through Wednesday, July 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets ($25) are available at the box office and online at sageinnptown.com. For more information call 508.487.6424.