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The Book of Moron

Actor-Playwright Robert Dubac   Courtesy of Moment-to-Moment Productions

 The Book of Moron


                         by Deirdre Donovan


Robert Dubac’s biting satire can put you back in touch with your inner truth-seeker


“Hello, welcome back to the theater,” intoned Robert Dubac to the audience seated at his solo comedy show The Book of Moron, at the SoHo Playhouse.  Dubac was stopped mid-breath before he launched his next line, however.  For , indeed, the hum of applause was filling the house—and it was as warm and delicious as just-buttered toast.


Dubac, who wrote and stars in Book of Moron, doesn’t disappoint.  Dressed in plain grey slacks and a matching shirt, he portrays Robert as a kind of “everyman” who has lost sight of the Big Picture and wanders through his life in a “coma-like state of stupidity.”  Rather than remain in this benighted state, Robert wonders if he can somehow recover from his “transient global amnesia,” the result of a slip on black ice outside of a convenience store.  Is it possible that he might regain his wits?  Uncover the door of truth?  And, well, live more fully and less like a moron?


Yes, this is a Gordian knot of a play.  And it’s best suited for those adventurous theatergoers who are ready to take a deep-dive into comedy with Dubac and explore the ever-evolving social mores of our culture.   In it, Dubac inhabits, not only Robert, but a whole line-up of other characters who flit in and out of the action.


Dubac is a master of stand-up comedy who over the years has broadened his artistic projects to include the theater and big and small screen.  Besides his Book of Moron, he has written two other solo shows:  Stand Up, Jesus and The Male Intellect:  An Oxymoron?


Besides being a witty writer and crackerjack performer, Dubac is a first-rate mime of regional American dialects too.  He incredibly simulates the vernaculars (think of the Southern drawl and the more clipped Yankee speech) that seem to spring from the soil of the land.  Dubac, in fact, strategically peppers the different lingos into his theater piece at pivotal moments.  So you get to listen to his imitation of rednecks from Alabama, cowhands from the prairie towns of Texas, an upper-crust Harvard man in Massachusetts, and sometimes the unlikely combination of Alabama rednecks and a Harvard man colliding in the same room in the South.

The Book of Moron has a free-wheeling narrative.   And, if you get to the theater early, you not only can read its basic outline in your program but get familiar with Robert’s alter egos, which subdivide into six different personas:  his Voice of Reason, his Common Sense, his Inner Moron, his Inner Child, his Inner Asshole, and his Scruples.  But no matter how many ways you slice his psyche, one fact about Robert (also nicknamed BOB) remains.  He earnestly wants to embrace the truth.   Although he still can do those quotidian tasks to get him through his day (like driving a car, swearing, and even swearing while driving a car), he realizes that life should be more than a Pavlovian exercise. 

And it gets weirder yet.  We learn that Robert has voices to guide him.  Go figure.  But Robert is not to be pigeon-holed easily here, except perhaps as a cross-fertilization between the historic Joan of Arc and a patient in the mental health ward at Bellevue Hospital. 

The comedy cranks up as Robert encounters a quintet of concepts that he knows are not easy to fathom:  Religion, Race, Sex, Media, Politics.  He writes down these words on a free-standing blackboard on stage.  And he then imbeds them into his subliminal consciousness for future reference.

Does Dubac cross lines of conventional good taste during his 80-minute intermissionless show?  Definitely—but he also teaches us to laugh at the serious human comedy called Life.  Expect to hear lots of wordplay about being “woke” nowadays and prepare to learn why words like “amazing” and “dude” have become as limp as day-old salad in the fridge.

Courtesy of Moment-to-Moment Productions

Nobody escapes whipping here, including Dubac’s fellow comedians.  Indeed, the late Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore are mercilessly lambasted for their Falstaffian figures and for their outspoken personal views on the American political scene.  While this, and other dramatic swaths, might rub some audience members the wrong way, Dubac continually reminds us that we must be willing to mention the unmentionable, to turn every cultural and political stone, and to keep asking the “tough questions.”

The line between comedy and tragedy often gets blurred in Dubac’s play.   Dubac intentionally seems to push the comedic envelope so far that it topples over into tragedy.  Case in point.  In an extended falling metaphor, Dubac mentions the insurrection of the Capitol building on January 6th,  along with the downward spiral of Bill Cosby’s career and Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide.  Dubac hardly sugarcoats the truth here.  And some very profound things are said here under the theatrical wrappings of dark comedy. 

       It seems that Dubac already has garnered all the superlative adjectives and accolades that can be bestowed on a stage comedian over the years.  So all that I can add is that he is a comedian extraordinaire who makes fritters of politicians, Catholic priests, and rebellious teenagers (whose favorite response to authority figures is “whatever”), and countless others.  No, not all of his jokes fully land.  But, when they do, they pack a real punch.



The creative team follow the less-is-more philosophy here.  Melissa Burkhardt Moore’s set design is the embodiment of minimalism.  The only props in sight during the show are the aforementioned blackboard, a large black box, a line of rope, a microphone, and a mysterious door apparatus (think the Door of Truth) that can intimate altered states of consciousness and also allows Dubac to disappear momentarily from the audience’s sight.  

Other creative contributions come from Brandon Bogle and Jacob Gilbert, whose quicksilver lighting design alternately washes the stage in flat white light or warmer golden hues.  Garry Shandling (yes, he’s the beloved stand-up comedian) seamlessly directs here, and keeps all running at a brisk pace.

As the show drew to a close, Dubac invited the audience to participate in a Q & A session with him.  And it proved to be a real test of Dubac’s comedic instincts.  For example, one audience member pointedly asked, “What happened to the dog named Wilson that Robert told us he left in the car?  With a dead-pan expression reminiscent of Buster Keaton, Dubac answered the audience member’s question with four simple words:  “This is a play.”  Indeed, poetic license rules here, and we learn that some narrative loose-ends are better left dangling.

Dubac then shifted his attention to the critics in the house, including yours truly.  Although I have never been keen on any kind of actor-audience interaction, I must confess that Dubac, who has that elusive quality called charm, managed to wrangle out of me the name of my publication and my name.  In any event, Dubac subsequently disseminated the gleaned information to everybody in the house, also urging them to watch for my review in the coming days.

So what’s my verdict on The Book of Moron?  A definite thumbs up!  Go—and enjoy this biting satire that can put you back in touch with your inner truth-seeker.  It also can remind you that having a sense of humor may well speed you along the often bumpy highway to truth.

Through October 3rd.At the SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, in SoHo      For more information, phone (212) 691-1555.