Review: ‘Oh, Hello on Broadway’ at Lyceum Theater
The Oddest Couple
Oscar and Felix, you’ve been replaced. Give it up, ladies and gentlemen, for Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, two gentlemen whose mission is to bring 1970s shabbiness to today’s rather Disneyfied Great White Way.
The eclectic set by Scott Pask typifies the Upper West Side. There’s the front door and stoop from the Huxtables’ brownstone (for some unknown reason, no one wanted Bill Cosby’s stoop), a staircase from an unnamed August Wilson play, family photos clearly from another family, and a section of the beauty parlor set from “Steel Magnolias” (I was rather proud of recognizing it before we were so informed).
Once you learn the particular speaking mannerisms of these formidable gentlemen, which are comprised mainly of placing the emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAble, you’ll start to understand what’s going on. Then add in some twisted references to the already mangled syntax and you’re well on your way to enjoying the evening and you’ll learn a lot along the way.
Did you know, for example, that the Lyceum Theater is haunted by the tragic ghosts of Tennessee Williams and his sister, Serena Williams?
Truth be told, the two do know a lot about the Manhattan of yore and the audience, for while Messrs. Faizon and St. Geegland may be new to BrudWAY (as Mr. St. Geegland pronounces it,) they have been comics Nick Kroll and John Maloney on Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show” for years. Indeed the two have been sharing a rent-stabilized apartment for decades for just $75 a month, which is fortuitous as neither seems to exhibit any visible means of support.
Mr. Faizon, were it not for a telephone message never delivered by Mr. St. Geegland, would have become the voice of CBS, and Mr. St. Geegland is a ne’er do well author of a voluminous novel. Indeed, he was placed in a school for misfits in his youth where his classmates included real estate heir and felon Robert Durst and we learn of the deaths of his three wives, all on the same staircase but, he explains, each an improvement over the prior death.
Neither is Jewish but their house has a supersized mezuzah on the doorpost (in the wrong place, of course). Despite this, the two do fit the traditional definitions of a schlemiel and a schlimazel (the schlemiel spills the soup, the schlimazel is the one whom the soup is spilled on).
On the topic of soup, they frequent the local diner, ordering overstuffed tuna fish sandwiches to recall their classic shtick, “Too Much Tuna.” Many of the Upper West Side references are smart, such as the Judaica shop that is always closed or Mr. Faizon’s foreboding warning that, “whether I live in your building or not, I am somehow on your co-op board.”
The show is on BrudWAY for a limited engagement through January 8, 2017 and, if you make a left at the Judaica shop and head towards the diner, keeping an eye out for a tuna sandwich being lowered in a gilded cage, you’ll get to the right place.
“Oh, Hello on Broadway”
149 W 45th Street
New York, N.Y. 10036
Tel. +1 (212) 239-6200
(Photos: Accura Media Group)