Anybody past a certain age probably knows the proper inflection of “How YOU doin’?”
Joey Tribbiani’s famous line from the iconic NBC sitcom “Friends” is one of many pop culture references from the 10-year show, which ran from 1994 to 2004.
New York City-based writers Bob and Tobly McSmith had quite a task when they set out to parody the show. “Friends! The Musical Parody” will stop by Pikes Peak Center on Monday.
“There were some annoying parts, like Ross’ whining,” said Tobly, “but it’s about the friendship they have, and we highlight that because it’s so important. People came and went, but they were friends and they’d do anything for each other. That was the most important theme of the show.”
Though both men watched the series as it progressed in real time, they revisited all 10 seasons as preparation in writing the show. They’ve had a good bit of practice in writing musical parodies, starting with 2013’s “Bayside! The Musical!,” a spoof of the TV show “Saved by the Bell.” Their latest, “The Office! A Musical Parody,” is on stage now in New York City, and they hope it will be their second show to warrant a national tour.
They’ve also tackled the movie “Showgirls,” TV shows “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Full House,” and turned the famous musical “Cats” into “Katdashians! Break the Musical!” starring, of course, the Kardashian family. That last one got them into a spot of trouble with “Cats” creator Andrew Lloyd Webber, who requested they remove copyrighted material from their parody. They complied and changed a few of the melodies.
“It worked out,” said Tobly, “but that was our ‘making it’ moment.”
The “Friends” parody, about half musical and half straight play, hits all the important moments from the series, with songs such as “495 Grove Street — How Can We Afford This Place?,” “How You Doin?,” “We Were on a Break!,” “Could I BE Anymore...in Love with You,” “Will They or Won’t They” and “The Ballad of Fat Monica.”
The show’s six actors also do double duty and portray some of the many guest stars who visited the friends along the way, such as Tom Selleck, Janice and even Marcel the monkey.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia, and especially right now it’s important, since the world’s a dumpster fire with all the political problems,” said Tobly. “People want to feel good from past things that have made them feel good. Now more than ever, nostalgia is working.”
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM