This is probably a back-handed compliment but I found Humor Abuse, the one-man show at the Manhattan Theater Club, far more enjoyable than I thought I would. If it weren’t for mimes, clowning would probably be the bottom rung of the entertainment ladder so I didn’t expect much.
The premise sounds pretty staid; a lone actor stands center stage and acts out the story of having a professional circus clown for a father. Father drags son into the business. Son learns the trade and tries desperately to please his father. Father ends up burning son. Ho-hum, right?
WRONG! It works beautifully. There were a few truly inspired moments that made me think about my own idiot father. And then I realized that the show isn’t really about clowning at all. Nice work.