Love Theme From “Molten Hell Hits Happy Valley”, at Cafe Voltaire.

It’s hard to write a good sketch comedy show. First you have to come up with an evening’s worth of humorous ideas. Then you have to write a series of funny scenes. Then you have to find actors capable of releasing the script’s comedy.

Writer-director Michael Jeffrey Cohen has done none of these things for Love Theme From “Molten Hell Hits Happy Valley”, a relentlessly tedious hour-long late-night show. Most of Cohen’s premises are pretty lame–one of his strongest bits is a “Beat the Reaper”-like game show called “Sleeping or Dead” in which guests have to decide whether participants from the audience are–well, you get the idea. And the bits that aren’t lame are puzzling: in the opening sketch, the actors come out one by one and comment in slow, drawling voices on a herd of horses that first run off to the horizon and then veer to the left.

A few brief flashes of oddball wit light up this evening of comic darkness: Cohen has a gift for bizarre non sequiturs, a gift that comes out in such lines as “Decomposition is not just a city in China,” as one character notes out of the blue in an otherwise humorless routine. But thanks to Cohen’s comedically impaired cast, even those flashes are dim.