The Idiotic Death of Two Fools, Annoyance Theatre.

I hope actors Eric Hoffman and Mike Monterastelli and director Gary Ruderman don’t think this one-act comedy, created through improvisation, is anything close to original. It’s not just that the premise is an obvious steal from Waiting for Godot: two guys spar and banter while awaiting the arrival of a mysterious third person, illustrating the futility and foolishness of life through their absurd interactions. The problem is that the whole dynamic of the show is familiar. Yet another retread of the two-man clown format, The Idiotic Death of Two Fools simply recycles routines you already know from Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello movies, not to mention more recent fare like Wayne’s World and Dumb and Dumber. Even making the two fools gay is just a lift from the Akbar and Jeff cartoons in Matt Groening’s “Life in Hell”; so is the deadpan illogic of the characters’ repetitive, obsessive exchanges, though Groening’s comic strip is considerably wittier and wiser.

The actors have reasonably confident and amusing comic presences. But their notion of what’s original is sorely flawed–especially considering that improvisation is intended to let artists express their unique personalities, not simply imitate other, superior work. Some may defend this sort of borrowing as artistic homage. I call it unimaginative. And tedious.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Ken Manthey.