See characters from John Hughes classics negotiate middle age at this comedy show

Macaulay Culkin grows up for one night

The Brooklyn Paper
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You cannot make Molly Ringwald or Macaulay Culkin young again, but a group of comedians is doing the next best thing — acting out their 40s.

Comedian Joe Garden is helping to organize 45 Candles, a comedy show that has jokesters come up with imaginative renditions of what everyday life is like for the kid characters from director John Hughes’ classic movies now that they have hit middle age.

Garden chalks up his ongoing obsession to growing up in the same decade as many of the mischevous teen icons who populated Hughes’ world, such as Ferris Bueller and Claire Standish (Ringwald in “The Breakfast Club”).

“I was a huge fan of ‘The Breakfast Club’ as a kid,” Garden said. “I saw it the last day of school in my sophomore year of high school. I remember thinking, ‘Yeah, he gets it!’ ”

But times, like people, change.

“Flash forward ten years, and I feel like, ‘This is so glib and obnoxious,’ ” he said.

Garden will be joined by New York stand-up stalwarts Liam McEneaney and Julieanne Smolinskiy to present skits spanning Hughes’ entire, excellently sound-tracked ouevre, taking inspirations from films including “Pretty in Pink,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Weird Science,” and “Home Alone.”

Garden is taking on the character that many consider one of Hughes’ greatest, popular kid Ferris Bueller.

“When I watch [“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off], I just see a sociopath,” Garden said. “He sort of cajoles and bullies his best friend into using his dad’s expensive car!”

In Garden’s grown-up fan fiction, Bueller is responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis and charms his way out of the consequences yet again.

The ambivalent super-fan says that he does not mean for the show to be some kind of perverse payback at his childhood hero.

“I don’t hate John Hughes,” Garden said. “It’s a complicated relationship. I resent having been manipulated by John Hughes as a teen.”

And so Garden will finally get what he wants this time. Lord knows it would be the first time.

45 Candles: An evening of fiction in which John Hughes characters grow the f--- up at Union Hall [702 Union St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 638-4400,]. Nov. 27, 8 pm. $7.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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