Patrick F. McManus’ comedy act “Poor Again – Yikes!” attracted such a large crowd on Friday that students were trying to sit and watch from the stairs of the sold-out Snow Drama Theatre.
McManus’ book, adapted into a one-man show starring Tim Behrens, instructs viewers on the art of living poor.
“People these days have forgotten how to live poor,” Behrens said.
Behrens has been performing on tour as McManus for over 20 years educating and entertaining audiences about simple pleasures in life that don’t cost a thing.
“My favorite toy as a child was dirt. And my second favorite was water, so that I could make mud. I was that poor,” Behrens said.
“Poor Again – Yikes!” shared the ins and outs of growing poor in northern Idaho, including bringing wild life droppings and skunk hydes to show and tell and stitching wounds with fishing line on the kitchen table.
“I can relate to many of the things he was talking about,” said Jennie Jensen, a sophomore studying exercise science. “I am from Montana and have had many discussions about skinning skunks with my boss when I worked on a ranch. This is my kind of humor; it’s clean, fun and makes sense.”
While not all of the students here have faced these particular circumstances, McManus’ show instructed students on some of the essentials of poverty.
Firstly, “Learn to be creative with food, but never touch head cheese or blood sausage. Head cheese is evil, and I can’t say anything that nice about blood sausage,” Behrens said.
Secondly, “It’s cheaper to be cold than warm when the economy goes haywire.”
Lastly, “It is wrong to spoil a youngster by paying him too much.”
Behrens used a call-and-response method to relate tales of an exploding dog named Strange, awkward adolescent dates with his high school sweetheart, Olga Bonemarrow, and the many dangers of maggot farming.
“I am familiar with McManus’ stuff, so I laughed when I read about the dog, Strange, but seeing it in person was hilarious,” said Charlotte Broadbent, a freshman currently studying music education. “The show was really funny; I liked it a lot.”
The audience laughed throughout the performance as Behrens shared bits of wisdom from his many years of poverty.
“He was really good at working with the crowd,” said Sarianna Klingaman, a freshman studying history. “I definitely liked how he had us ask him questions and had us participate.”
There was a nostalgic air to McManus’ humor that held special meaning for some community members in the audience.
“I came to the show tonight because an old colleague of mine always raved about McManus,” said Frank Felicione of Idaho Falls. “Unfortunately, he died at a young age, so I wanted to come and get an idea of what those stories were like. This performance has a special meaning for me. The stories were familiar and very enjoyable.”