You’d think an elf must lead a charmed life.
Well, not if you're Crumpet the Elf -- an elf with a definite attitude that’s far from perky.
“The Santaland Diaries” is the chronicle of David Sedaris, who tells the hilarious, somewhat-true woes of trading in his dignity for a pair of jingling shoes and a humiliating costume.
“I am a 33-year-old man applying for a job as an elf,” he admits at the beginning of his tale.
This off-kilter, cult classic takes to Grandstreet Theatre’s stage starting 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8.
Shows run through Dec. 21, with some showtimes at 7:30 and others at 10 p.m.
And who better to portray the disgruntled Crumpet than Helena’s very own Kev Hamm, a founding member of the improv group Cow Tipping Comedy.
He’s not only Sedaris/Crumpet in this one-man show, but also “the bratty kids, the annoyed adults,” and who knows what else.
The play “goes through his journey of ‘I need a job. Oh, here’s a job. I got the job. And then all the experiences -- most of them bad,’” says director Dee Smith III. “But it has a little bit of Christmas heart to it.”
Travel along and learn about “The Elfin Guide,” an official booklet of elf regulations; elf motivational cheers and even elf training in merriment.
Crumpet helps you envision not only Santaland itself with its bridges and islands and penguins, but also such places as “The Oh My God Corner,” “The Vomit Corner,” “The Magic Tree,” and more.
You’ll get to meet Crumpet’s elf coworkers -- some chipper and some not. A few are professional elves who are actors and dancers just picking up extra bucks during the Christmas season.
But then there are the not-so-happy elves who had “real jobs” in advertising agencies and brokerage firms before the recession hit.
“Bless their hearts, these people never imagined there was a velvet costume in their future. They’re the really bitter elves.”
Hamm predicts there are moments in the show that everyone can relate to -- particularly as holiday stress mounts.
“There’s moments everything is going wrong,” says Hamm. “The mother is losing it, the kid is crying, Santa is bored and the film’s not working in the camera...and Christmas is ruined.”
“There’s also the moment where magic is happening and no one was expecting it.”
Hamm admits that he and Sedaris/Crumpet share a similar worldview -- “sardonic about everything.”
Hamm, who grew up in Helena and graduated from Capital High School, got interested in performance while singing in a boys choir in Helena and performing in school plays.
He took up improv comedy after seeing a show while living in Phoenix. After his first one or two improv classes, he was immediately drafted by OxyMoron'z improvisational troupe.
Hamm has earned a loyal following from his Cow Tipping improv shows and some memorable roles at Grandstreet -- Fester in “The Addams Family,” Trekkie Monster in “Avenue Q,” and the innkeeper Monsieur Thénardier in “Les Misérables.”
“The Santaland Diaries” has 11 performances, including four special late night performances: 7:30 p.m. performances are Dec. 10, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22; and 10 p.m. shows are Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16.
Tickets are $17 and available at Grandstreet Theatre, 325 N. Park Ave., or by calling 447-1574, or online at www.GrandstreetTheatre.com.
The Santaland Diaries contains mature themes.