Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Book of Moron

After the inauguration of Donald Trump, after the denial of COVID, after the insurrection of January 6th, is comedy even possible anymore?

That seems to be the central question raised by Robert Dubac's new one-man show The Book of Moron. Dubac is an undoubtedly funny guy, and his past shows like The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? have had audiences rolling in the aisles. But can he--can anyone--just stand up and tell dick jokes while the whole world seems to be on the brink of collapse?

The solution Dubac comes up with is not to drop the dick jokes (don't worry, as the audience still gets to enjoy lots of transgressive humor), but to make the dick jokes relevant to our current situation, by having them, err, rise to a higher purpose. The result is a funny show that isn't just a funny show, but one that forces us to confront the world around us with humor as well as horror.

"What is truth?" is the question Pontius Pilate allegedly asked Jesus, but it's also the question Dubac asks the audience. (Dubac has a different question for Jesus, who fortunately responds via Facebook.) With so much bullshit (the show's term) in politics, religion, and the media today, how do we tell what's really real? By turning himself into a human bullshit detector, Dubac helps us to separate truth from illusion... at least for the 80-minute intermission-less show.

It probably doesn't hurt that the play is directed by television legend Garry Shandling, who keeps the pace up throughout so that the audience doesn't find themselves drifting. A succession of stage tricks keeps us constantly guessing what will come next. Set designer Melissa Burkhardt Moore uses a deceptively simple blackboard to work magic on multiple occasions. And speaking of magic, Dubac performs a few tricks that even if they're old-school are so flawlessly executed that they get the audience every time.

The Book of Moron is currently playing at Soho Playhouse, where all audience members must be vaccinated, masked, and socially distanced. In another era, these precautions might have felt like a kill-joy, but with live performance so rare these days, it's a pleasure to laugh with other people even if they have to sit a row away from you.

Unfortunately, the show is only running until September 26th, so get your tickets now!