DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN, at the Shubert Theatre. Rob Becker, who thinks his show is about innate gender differences, spends a great deal of time spinning out his shallow, heterocentric thesis: men are the way we are because millions of years ago we “evolved” into hunters, hence we “kill” TV shows with our remotes while our mates–assumed always to be female–evolved into gatherers and so love to comb the malls. But really Defending the Caveman is a two-hour rationalization for suburban living. “See, honey,” I imagine couples saying as they leave the show, “we were meant to piss away our lives of quiet desperation shopping, watching TV, and never holding a meaningful conversation.”

In the three years since Becker last performed this show in Chicago, he hasn’t changed a word or gesture. Still joking about Ghost and Pretty Woman years after they left the current-release shelves at Blockbuster, Becker seems even more mundane in 1997 than he did in 1994, now that everyone in America has read Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don’t Understand and John Gray’s books and too many stand-up comedians are trying to make it big by jumping on the “men forget to put the toilet seat down” bandwagon. At least Becker comes across as a likable guy, unlike some of his rivals, such as the smarmy, hostile Robert Dubac (see The Male Intellect–or better yet, don’t). –Jack Helbig