Chauvinism is funny. Misogyny is a laugh riot. And Robert Dubac, author and star of The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?, is pretty darn amusing, too. The show, which ran for months in Chicago, Cleveland and Boston, and has occupied the Herberger Stage West for most of the summer, recounts the story of Bobby (who may or may not be Dubac himself) and the fiance who dumped him. If he can only decode the psychosexual dynamics of male-female relationships and overcome his own chauvinistic attitudes about women, he tells us, he might be able to woo her back. Equal parts punchy narrative and standard standup routine, The Male Intellect is an hourlong meditation on the question "What do women want?" during which we meet the chauvinistic friends who tutored him on the subject.
This is a one-man show, so Dubac brings these guys to life, even if they do recall other characters by other actors. Fast Eddie is based on every Lothario Jack Nicholson has ever played; The Colonel is several different Robert Duvall wackos rolled into one; and Ronnie Cabrezzi is a vulgar Vinnie Barbarino by way of Henry Winkler as The Fonz.
All of them yammer about the Battle of the Sexes and the Deep Mystery of Women, but it's Dubac's voice that's the loudest and funniest. His meanderings on why men don't understand women, of course, wind up in punch lines ("She says I had a bad memory," he says, "but I can't remember why"), but there's some thoughtful writing about the human condition and why people misbehave, too. If some of the material is silly and simplistic (the real problem, he finally decides, is that men have penises, which he links to our farting, sex obsessions and other bad behavior that scare women off), it's also brought brightly to life by Dubac's considerable comic charms. And Dubac does us a great favor by not telling us how to overcome relationship problems, finally choosing a less-than-happy ending that gives the material a delightfully melancholic patina.
The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?
Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street
Continues through August 29. Call 602-252-8497.
The Male Intellect is short and relatively painless, even with all the jabs at women and why they're so difficult to understand, and it's worth the modest ticket price just to see what Dubac does with a couple of cigarettes and the song "Dueling Banjos." If this one-man show full of slick sight gags and un-PC humor isn't particularly revelatory, it's also not the worst way to pass a sweltering summer evening.
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