By Amy Martin
Dallas Theatre Critic
Comedy of Critical Thinking:
"Robert Dubac's THE BOOK OF MORON is incredibly smart and very funny."
“If thinking were easy, everyone would do it.” This tagline from THE BOOK OF MORON is why I love comedy and comedians. In the latest theatrical laugh-fest from creator Robert Dubac, the voice of his Common Sense explores the line comedians cross between offensive and funny, between illusion and truth.
“If we think hard enough, we can wake up” is not just metaphorical in THE BOOK OF MORON. Robert Dubac’s character Bob is in a coma, possibly from too much talk radio.
In his 80-minute journey through consciousness, Bob morphs to a series of interior selves to remember who he is. Led by his Voice of Reason, it’s frequently overruled by his Inner Child, Inner Moron, Inner Asshole, and aforementioned Common Sense - with his Scruples residing in humanity, a.k.a. the audience.
Is this relevant in our post-election turbulence or what?
With Herculean effort, Bob journeys through all four levels of truth - the Illusion of Truth, the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth. His first step is to break free from the Pavlovian indoctrination of sex, race, religion, media, and politics. To do so, he must leave the comfort of the box where no thinking is necessary and venture into the murky terrain of belief. Does he press 1 for truth or 2 to remain in the dark?
In the classic progression of Nietzsche’s superman, we are exhorted to erase what we’ve been told to see what we already know. Never would I have thought to find Taoist teachings laced with existentialism in a comedy show. Sound heavy? Not in the least. Dubac folds in plentiful jokes from erudite to just plain silly.
THE BOOK OF MORON is a visually sharp show, with few but effective props, including Dubac’s trademark twirling chalkboard. The backdrop is the shape of a brain comprised of white sheep huddled together with vacant gazes, except the lone black sheep who stares straight forward.
Not a minute goes by without a laugh, and he even adds well done magic tricks. THE BOOK OF MORON is briskly paced with a momentum that builds in a sly way as concepts are layered in, returned to, and flipped over.
Bottom line: Truth is always more offensive than comedy.
By John Moore
Denver Post Theatre Critic
By Claire Martin
Denver Post Theatre Critic
"High Concept comedy that is Provocative and Smart"
"Brainy and Plenty of Laughs"
"A Razor-sharp Comedian"
Robert Dubac’s latest solo undertaking, THE BOOK OF MORON, is one man's existential journey to find the elusive "truth." It's an erudite comic trek through all the hypocrisies and half-truths that have left America deeply divided. Dubac is not so much a man without a country as a man without a place in a country that has lost its way.
The veteran comic is older, wiser and still trying to figure out how it is we turned into a nation of such shallow, ignorant dunderheads as he journeys into the heart of our ignorance. This is high-concept comedy that is provocative and smart; a philosophy lecture with punch lines.
Looking very professorial, Dubac stands before a chalkboard with the words "sex," "race," "religion," "media" and "politics" written on it. These are both his topics of conversation and the targets in his cross hairs. To make his points, he employs a combination of magic tricks, verbal gymnastics and straight-up observational comedy. Trading on deep divisions that exist in every corner of American life, Dubac almost biblically parts his audience. No one on the left or right gets out cleanly.
With THE BOOK OF MORON Dubac again blurs the lines between stand-up and theater by his use of multiple characters. Here they're not so much specific people as personifications of our experience, curiosity, reason and common sense. The bottom line: Dubac is back and brainy with plenty of laughs, a razor-sharp comedian.
"3.5 Stars out of Four!"
"A Terrific Show, Witty and Incisive"
"Sharp humor, clever and acute"
First off, THE BOOK OF MORON has absolutely nothing to do with "The Book of Mormon". That said, THE BOOK OF MORON, Robert Dubac's one-man show about a brain-injured patient struggling to recover his memory of himself, is a terrific show in its own right, witty and incisive. At times, it's almost like a TED talk. There is lean-faced Dubac, cheekbones sharp as his humor, describing his peculiar situation. It's "not the typical brain damage - you know, from watching 'Duck Dynasty'," he says.
Reaching into his brain as if it's a file cabinet, he calls upon his various personas - his Inner Child, his Common Sense, his Voice of Reason, etc. - to help sort out this predicament. It helps to look at his hospital bracelet, too. Deciphering it, Bob figures out he's in a coma, has a traumatic brain injury, but "DNR" slips past his comprehension the first time or two. One of his inner personas gets it though, and that reaction causes Bob to wonder whether "swearing is a sin or a skill." And on to other metaphysical questions: How to spot the difference between truth and illusion? Does God approve of gay marriage? (He must be OK with it because religious art suggests that God allowed gays to decorate Heaven.)
THE BOOK OF MORON snaps along at a brisk clip, with the occasional flurry of misdirection to startle and amuse the audience. Dubac is a deft magician as well as a honed wordsmith. He has improvisational skills, too. Let that be a warning to anyone who forgets to visit the restroom prior to this 90-minute intermission-free show.
THE BOOK OF MORON is clever and acute. "If Thinking Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It," is the play's subtitle. True enough. 3.5 stars out of four!
Robert Dubac's The Book of Moron:
Comedy Beyond the Brick Wall
In The Book of Moron, Robert Dubac presents wisdom disguised as wit and high art in the guise of mass-appeal entertainment. This is no easy feat. Audiences that grew up on the televised stand-up showcase programs of the eighties and nineties have been systematically conditioned to respond to the most generic premises and to reject out of hand anything that smacks of messaging. Older audiences who can remember the comedy heyday of Carlin and Pryor, Saul and Bruce shy away from anything that feels empty or pandering.
Dubac's solution to this issue is as elegant as the script he has written to explore the value of critical thinking in a world that encourages purely Pavlovian behavior. Packaging his show as a theatrical event rather than a stand-up act, he sets a tone that allows a demanding audience to take an interest in what he does. Making the humorous nature of his work apparent in the marketing, he draws in the audience that seeks joyous laughter but never tips his hand, never acknowledges the important undertones of his creation.
Using a delightful array of theatrical devices -- magic tricks, basic neuro-linguistic programming, word play, a blackboard that reveals hidden truth and then becomes a doorway to a less-than-comforting experience of enlightenment -- he delivers all the laughs a person could hope for and a great deal more as well. He offers real insight into the human condition, the struggle to find meaning in a modern world, the quest for one's own identity, the complex structure of belief. From the moment Dubac takes the stage claiming to have lost his memory it is clear that he is a master of his craft, that he controls the moment and that we, the eager audience are in good hands. Dubac embraces his responsibility as a tour guide to the psyche. Chock full of wonderful laughter, joyful surprises and unexpected applause-break moments, The Book of Moron is a show that is well worth seeing. Seriously.
By Dylan Brody
By Alexa Kelly
Dubac entirely at home in "The Book of Moron"
The one-man show is making a comeback. Its unlikely savior — comedian Robert Dubac. Dubac unleashes his full arsenal of talent in "The Book of Moron," a 90-minute, no intermission production that's part stand-up, part magic show and as its catchy tagline promises, "offensive to some, laughter for all."
"The Book of Moron," Dubac's latest solo endeavor, debuts at Ambler's Act II Playhouse after last summer's resounding hit, "The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?" Performed across the nation and around the globe, "The Male Intellect" represents the most successful of Dubac's one-man performance pieces thus far, though I'll be presumptuous enough to bet "Moron" will give it a run for its money. The writer-comedian-magician-actor has also produced "Sex, Politics... And Other Headaches" and is working on his fourth show, "Stand-Up Jesus,"as well as an audio CD titled "Piss and Moan."
Though the premise of "Moron" is less important than its exceptional, hysterical delivery, the show opens with Robert, a man who has lost his memory as well as all recollection of what he believes in, or why. With the help of his litany of internal personalities, Robert delves into the hypocrisies of society, determining truth from illusion, knowledge from information and providing laugh-out-loud humor for all of us along for his all-too-honest journey of self-discovery.
Dubac's humor is at once dizzying and poignant. "The Book of Moron" is the thinking-man's one-man show, with much of its enjoyment deriving from the pace with which Dubac delivers his fresh, forward-minded material. By the time you've wrapped your head around his last joke, he's moved onto the next biting reference.
"Moron" is at first puzzling in that it's an art form unlike most others. I'd say a fitting venue for it would be Comedy Central, but Dubac proves so brutally sardonic towards television in general and the station's political darling, Jon Stewart specifically, that it might be a tough squeeze. Dubac takes well-sharpened aim at everything from Google and KFC to the Jersey Shore and "Twilight," as well as limelight hogs like Charlie Sheen, Tim Tebow, Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh with impenetrable wit.
As his no-nonsense Inner A*hole, Dubac (literally) straddles the line between offensive and funny. With his affinity for four-syllable (and occasionally four-letter) words, this lovable if irritated character cuts down both the FCC and America's overall neglect of the English language.
Donning spectacles and an intellectual, New England accent, Dubac has perhaps his most winning scene as his personified Voice of Reason. His solution to partisan politics is the combination of the two parties into the "repubmocrats" or "demolicans," a single political party solving controversial issues with compromises in the so-crazy-they-just-might-work vein.
The performance is surprisingly personal, as though he is speaking to you about you. Viewers will certainly recognize themselves in many of his spot-on observations, and indeed Dubac does not shy away from audience interaction. Seasoned Dubac fans lightheartedly tease the adept ad-libber, breaking into consistent peels of applause and laughter throughout the show.
For all his satirist antics, Dubac clearly has a purpose, making the theater a bit like a classroom - a theme most obvious in his use of a rotating chalkboard that becomes a revolving "door of truth." His lessons about finding the "bigger picture" peppered with adult humor, Dubac may seem in danger of being pompous or preachy, and he does ironically mount an actual soapbox in one of his many prop-gags. Yet, from his tickling intro admonishing latecomers to his casual closing lines, Dubac is a guy to root for and laugh with, a charming performer with a wry smile.
Taking no prisoners in his satire, Robert Dubac allows us to laugh at our society as he sees it. Even if audiences leave skeptical of his worldview, you can't deny the man's talent.
By Dawn Youngs
Robert Dubac crosses a lot of lines in his dynamic new one man show.
The Book of Moron: Straight talker Robert Dubac asks his audience to wipe its mental slate clean in one-man act
In The Book of Moron, visiting the Long Center this weekend, Robert Dubac is a straight talker who speaks in circles. He is an actor, a linguist, a magician and a comedian, yet he is not fully any of these things — and that's the beauty of it. He is not easy to define and, therefore, his ideas are not easy to dismiss. He catches you off balance, and before you either fall or catch yourself, you are able to open up and truly hear.
When the lights come up on this one act performance, we find a fit, well-dressed man reading a newspaper while standing in a box before a chalkboard bearing a single question mark. It is a fitting opening to a show where subtle visual metaphor combines with verbal slight of hand and the deliberately fanciful use of illusion to reveal the truth that lies beneath the busy unconscious lives we live.
The Book of Moron is Dubac’s most recent one man comedy-routine-cum-lecture magic show. In this thought provoking solo performance Dubac, who last toured Austin with his hit The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron, is following in the footsteps of other social satirists, like George Carlin, in speaking the truth through his art. Where George Carlin is acerbic and vitriolic, however, this guy is a delicate, linguistic surgeon.
As Dubac insists, there is a fine line between the truth we can laugh at and the truth that offends. The trouble is that line shifts in the sands of our individual consciousness.
The fault line is not in the truth but in the hearer. Dubac asks us to step back from our own reactions and examine their origins. He urges us to wipe the slate clean of the information we've soaked up in a lifetime of media consumption and Pavlovian training and to look at the world around us with open eyes, engaging our critical thinking.
Throughout the piece, there is a heartbeat sound-cue that recurs, which he identifies with the truth; I have to say that I think he has his finger on the pulse of it. Dubac is thinking outside the box, and his engaging show has just the right touch to encourage the audience to take a step outside too.
By the way, if you want to unplug your teenagers from the internet for a night, contact Dubac through his facebook page and he will arrange free tickets for all teens ages 13 - 18.
By Christina Lucas
"Sitting in the dark, surrounded by strangers, I found myself laughing out loud..."
Written and acted by Robert Dubac, “The Book Of Moron” is an engaging and thought provoking performance, a message about ourselves in the modern world, delivered with biting wit. The good, the bad, the ridiculous. We are invited to re-think who we are as a culture.
In monologue, Mr. Dubac unravels our thinking process to uncover the truth about hypocrisy in our modern society. As he takes us through the topics of politics, religion, media, reality shows and bottled water, he cleverly illustrates his points by portraying multiple characters, using simple props and comic stage tricks, all to help us question what we see and hear. Is it our gullibility or our complacency that needs another look?
The play opens with a large question mark scrawled across a black chalk board, a reoccurring theme. What we see and hear in life, might not be as we think. Truth becomes illusion. Mr. Dubac offers up some interesting twists on how to cure our societal schisms and make it all work. In one comical segment, he suggests that both political parties combine as one, so that they can achieve some funny compromises. For instance, continuing to ban prayers in our public schools except during exams, just when they might really help.
In the age of 3-D movies and computer generated imagery, this one man performance is refreshing, hilarious, poignant and sure to delight. Thank you Robert Dubac for an invitation for us to think outside the proverbial box.
The Rollins Theatre, at the Long Center, was the perfect venue, a comfortable and intimate setting.
We could all use a good laugh. Not to be missed!
"Lightening fast and funny"
"A 21st Century Mark Twain"
He's a bit of a challenge to categorize, with lightning fast, funny delivery of satiric commentary on contemporary culture - that world which both sustains us and frustrates us daily. Is this how a 21st century Mark Twain might sound?
Actor, comedian, writer, director and sometimes magician, Robert Dubac is known in Denver for “The Male Intellect: an Oxymoron?” which played in several Denver theaters in the early ’90s and then toured worldwide. “The Book Of Moron,” newly developed by monologist Dubac plays through Nov. 14 at the Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Lights up on a tall, slender man with a twinkle in his eye, contemplating a blackboard list of topics: Religion, Race, Sex, Media, Politics. Deft use of an eraser leaves us with Truth.
Who am I? he wonders, claiming to have lost his memory. His phone rings and it’s The Voice of Reason calling to tell him how to open The Door of Truth and Robert enters through it “to seek the truth. We’ll get a bigger picture — in 3D and scratch and sniff. We’ll define what people really mean” he predicts. (The Voice of Reason, he explains, was first heard during the Renaissance and was sacked by Fear of the Unknown masquerading as religion.)
Dubac morphs into a cast of originally created characters emerging one at a time to explain things for the audience. He gives the audience 90 minutes of non-stop entertainment — and some quotes and observations one wishes one would recall to spring on friends! See his world view and relate it to your own.
The Book of Moron explores the funny side of life's hypocrisies
Robert Dubac's latest foray into the world of stand-up satire explores life's truth and its illusions as only he can. Dubac's The Book of Moron is fast-paced, loaded with intelligent thought-provoking conundrums and witticism, and always a laugh a minute. On stage, he literally stands in, on and out of the box—mostly out.
Dubac begins telling the audience that he's lost his memory, which is good because can't remember what he believes in and therefore can make fun of beliefs he can't remember. But bad because he offends those who still believe in the beliefs he can't remember (get that?). The rest of the evening runs with that kind of slick humor, with Dubac offering a charming sly smile after each wordplay on the hypocrisies of society.
Dubac takes on different roles to explore truth and illusion. For example, his Inner A*hole is the experienced "everybody's uncle" who's been around the block. He shares his explanation of the difference between truth and non-truth ("bullshit") to his Inner Child who represents Everyman's curiosity and inexperience, but also our ability to grasp a truth.
Besides the box, Dubac's only prop is a chalkboard on which he writes words that lead into his topics and a cloth that covers up a sexual "illusion." He sprinkles in off-color remarks with just the right amount of frequency—not too often and at the appropriate time. Ditto with his slight-of-hand magic tricks. The 90-minute uninterrupted show plays at the cabaret-style Galleria Theatre at the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
The Book of Moron is a hysterical and wise ride.
You’ll laugh until it hurts. For almost 90 minutes in THE BOOK OF MORON Robert Dubac claims the stage and your complete attention with his one-man comedy show, barreling through history, religion, politics, psychology and as much offensive material as he can glean from the offenses people hurl at each other.
“If you get mugged by a woman, does she only steal 70 cents on the dollar?”
Under the pretense of bringing the audience into Dubac’s unconscious mind after he’s suffered a blow to the head and is in a coma, he delivers a honed, astute and hilarious romp. He and the show are slick and fun.
"The average American thinks he's above average. What does that mean? The average American thinks he's French?"
With the ease and charm of a seasoned philosophy prof, Dubac knits his waking dream with a lightning fast observations about a world built on perceptions and clichés. It’s a world that has polarized our country like never before, and Dubac makes hay with it. At times raucously funny, he skillfully keeps the show from wandering away as nothing more than a marathon stand-up routine. Dubac channels five personalities — his inner child, his common sense, voice of reason, his-inner idiot and his inner-jerk — to drive home this point: Despite humanity’s Herculean effort to size up a black-and-white world, there are almost no absolutes. Except for maybe that TV is bad for our health and probably the perpetuation of the species.
Some ripe site gags and one-liners keep the show from going the other way and becoming a gauzy lecture on the human condition. Everyone walks away at with face fatigue from grinning like a fool and laughing like one, too. But you leave the event a little transformed, maybe even willing to give Fox News anchors, congressional leaders or organized religion the benefit of the doubt.
Satirist Robert Dubac puts "idiocracy" in the hot seat
When hearing Glenn Beck's name, the first thing that comes to Robert Dubac's mind is:
A great defender of F-r-e-e-d-u-m-b of Speech.
Hey! Political satirist Robert Dubac just called me an unpublishable word, just because I won't publish another unpublishable word. Well, son of a bleep!
In response to our free-association quiz, the actor-comedian described Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell as "America's ..." well, we just can't say it. And for not printing it, Dubac said we're that other word we can't print, either.
"And you wonder why the Internet is taking away your readership?" he teased.
"Of course, if you want to play it safe, here are a couple more but don't say I didn't warn you when The Denver Post goes under for not having a sense of satire: "Option A: Christine O'Donnell ... 'The sole reason Rosie O'Donnell is changing her last name to Hitler.' Or, Option B ... 'Every Republican's happy ending.' "
Dubac calls his peculiar brand of solo comedy "stand-up on steroids." He made his name in the early '90s trading on universal relationship foibles with "The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?" That's a multi-character juggernaut he developed at small theaters all over Denver and has toured internationally ever since. His new show, "The Book of Moron," opening Saturday at the Denver Center's Galleria Theatre, is decidedly more pointed. Dubac, who identifies himself as a "repubmocrat-demolican," and describes his religious views as, "Blond, as in . . . "Ohmygod!" targets hypocrisy in politics, religion and the media. He calls his new show "offensive to some; laughter for all."
So, Bob, what's the first thing that comes to mind when we say . . .
Sarah Palin? "English is her second language."
Mel Gibson? "He certainly got Michael Richards off the hook."
Glenn Beck? "A great defender of F-r-e-e-d-u-m-b of Speech."
Was 9/11 an inside job?: "I can't comment, or they'll kill me."
We caught up on other burning issues as well.
Q: What's your take on Obama's presidency so far?
A: Health care and stem-cell research will be his downfall. Not only will it keep old Republicans alive longer, it will fix the mentally challenged ones, as well.
Q: With your new show, who, or what, is most directly in your crosshairs?
A: I go after more of the "what" than the "who." I'm more concerned with the idiocracy that created the idiots than the idiots themselves. For example, idiocracy isn't even a word. How stupid.
Q: Given how truly messed up things are in the world, how in God's name are you going to make that funny in your show?
A: First, I'm not going to do it in God's name, as that would be blasphemous. And we're Americans; we love to make fun of our mistakes and laugh at our neighbors' lack of shame. Good God . . . oops! . . . we invented reality TV and the Darwin Awards, didn't we? "The Book of Moron" caters to our basic love of a good whine.
Q: So, seriously, what is it going to take to turn this country around?
A: If you're looking for directions on the prosperity highway, just remember two wrongs don't make a right — but two wrongs on Fox News make a political right.
Q: Is organized religion making things better or worse?
A: The fact that an atheist has never set himself up in a duck blind to shoot at people exiting an abortion clinic sort of gives you that answer, doesn't it?
Q: And, finally, is the intellectual man no longer an oxymoron?
A: Correct. Now he's a target. I'll be here for four weeks. Bring ammo.
By Dave Perry
By John Moore
Denver Post Theatre Critic