So lately things have been incredibly crazy and stressful. I’m not sure what’s been going on but I can tell you that I don’t appreciate most of it. I’ve had my life threatened in more ways than I appreciate and had my wallet and cell phone stolen. What is happening in the world? It doesn’t just stop with me though. My friends have been experiencing hardships that are just uncommon to us (not saying that we’re exempt from hardships, it’s just that the ones that have been thrusted on us are quite peculiar). I’m just saying that something is going on with the balance in the world and I really don’t appreciate it not being in my favor.
I’m more than a little partial to comedy that tells a story; Lily Tomlin’s Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and Jonny McGovern’s Dirty Stuff are two of my favorite performance pieces ever. I also really like evenings that combine stand-up with gay-themed narrative, like most of Judy Gold’s recent work. So I’m not in the least surprised that I positively love Baby Daddy, the act that “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart” Alec Mapa is currently doing at the Laurie Beechman Theater.
The show is mostly about what has happened since Mapa and his husband, documentary film producer Jamison Hebert, adopted a five-year old black boy from Compton. Mapa has structured the act very intelligently, starting with up-to-the-minute topical material (Ann Romney’s “you people” gaffe was one of the first subjects the night I went), passing gradually to stuff about the funnier side of parenting, and zeroing in the more touching side of parenthood only as the show approaches its end.
Alec includes every side of his life in this act: lost luggage on the way to gay cruises, mid-life crisis circuit partying, and musing on the possibility that Christina Crawford was a thankless brat. Mapa is my favorite kind of comedy writer, one who realizes than scatological humor and intellectual wit aren’t mutually exclusive, as a matter of fact they can happen in the same line.
Mapa name-checks musical theatre in general – and Dorothy Loudon in particular – as being the well-spring of his desire to perform. Mapa self-deprecatingly says that this show isn’t going to reach Loudon-worthy heights (though for my money it gets much closer to that kind of incandescence than stand-up usually does). Mapa spins gay parenthood into show biz gold – ya better not miss it, kid!
For tickets, click here.
For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see his blog Drama Queen.
Jackie Hoffman, one of the city’s best comic singing actresses, creates cabaret acts that tell hilarious self-deprecating tales about the sad state of her career. It really doesn’t matter if she’s actually doing fine career-wise, she always manages to find the wickedly funny downside. The first number in her act at 54 Below – which actually opened the space two days before Patti LuPone, she hastens to point out – is punningly called “Bottom” and sarcastically celebrates climbing her way up to the basement (of Studio 54).