“My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy” – Herberger Theater Center

This review aired on KBAQ February 6, 2012


Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

I get upset when a stand-up comic uttering banal jokes parades around as if he’s in some carefully scripted theater comedy.  Such is the case with Steve Solomon’s dreadful “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy,” now playing at the Herberger Theater Center.

The play premiered in the Catskill’s several seasons ago and it’s gone on to engagements around the country.  It’s certainly not a play.  In it, the single character, Steve, played here by Ron Tobin, is at his Therapist’s Office.  Steve parades back and forth doing predictably bland routine after routine that are loosely related to Steve’s life and the challenges of living.  The stupid banter has nothing to do with his therapy and Tobin just paces back and forth in a huge testament to the importance of interesting stage action and stage business.

The tasteless jokes slam faith, religion, universal beliefs, stalwart living, hard work, and treat life as a big joke.  But the chatter makes Steve’s life sound amazingly normal and straight-forward.  It’s the life most of us lead.  Things in Steve’s life, as created by Solomon, aren’t as awful as he wants us to believe.

You’ll laugh here and there because so much stupidity inevitably hits a few yuks on occasion.  But this is no play with a beginning, middle, or resolution and most of it isn’t funny.

Tobin shows us nothing more than an ability to stride back and forth in a relatively straight line from one side of the stage to the other.  He adds no comic flair to his rudimentary delivery.  If you don’t find the play’s awful humor inviting, Tobin adds no theatrical spark to add any verve.

The show opened on January 18 and will have played five weeks by the time it closes on February 19.  I can’t believe that once word got out and tickets, which cost up to $49.50, would net large audiences.

If you want to see really dreadful stand-up comedy that has no relation to theater, lacks any plot, is boringly performed, and has only a few funny jokes, head to the Herberger Theater Center to see “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy.”  It earns just one star out of five.  For tickets, call the Herberger Theater Center box office at 602-252-8487 or order tickets online at www.herbergertheater.org.

Grade: F