There is not a two-drink minimum for viewers of the Mercury Theater’s late night comedy confection The Big Game Show Show and Stuff.
But I am going to recommend you arrive fully loaded.
That is probably the best way, (perhaps the only way) to appreciate hijinks like “Stuck or Loose,” a game between two audience members who must guess whether items are physically attached to or merely resting on a table some 15 feet away from them onstage.
Even harder to fathom is why these contestants turn for counsel to a wildly screaming audience, (divided 50-50) who are sitting between 30 and 300 feet from that same table.
Which is not to say there is no enjoyment to be found in this show, now in its fifth successful season; just that’s it’s of the schadenfreude sort. The kind of pleasure one experiences watching a woman who clearly spent an hour straightening her blonde tresses be blindfolded and asked to eat a rubber doll head, rattle and teething ring out of a giant blob of green Jell-o.
“Eat Me Out” was preceded by another bit of forced naughtiness: a performance by Jyldo, a burlesque dancer who came out dressed as a shimmery cardboard robot and (awkwardly) stripped her way down to see-through panties and a pair of pointy glowing robot ta-tas while singing “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.”
The bewilderment and too-tepid response her sudden appearance generated was pretty much emblematic of the evening.
Replete with catch phrases and programmed camp, the Big Game Show Show and Stuff operates like a cult movie, only with much of the audience puzzled by the “throwing of toast;” a sing-along where only a very few people know the words.
Some of that may be a function of the performance I saw being the 2011 opening night; I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those mumbling audience members thronged back and brought friends. Also, it was an 8:00 p.m. performance and the show normally starts at 11:00 p.m.–an hour more conducive to a convivial state of mind.
Co-creator Anderson Lawfer made an able effort to hold the center of this jiggly show with an affable charm and a stage presence part Drew Carey and part Elvis.
Though similarly suave, announcer and co-creator James Anthony Zoccoli needs some new material for his rather limited role of selecting contestants from a spinning basket of volunteer slips and keeping track of the game points. (A bit about needing a calculator to figure them was tired the second time he said it and he did so at least three.)
It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend going to this show. It’s just that the high point for me was watching a woman guzzle a bottle of Pace picante sauce for $20.
In this happening Lakeview locale, non-valet parking can be scarce, so get there early (and have a few.)
Tickets are $15 and can be bought on The Mercury’s website or at the door. Shows are Friday and Saturday nights through Dec. 31, with no performances Nov. 10 and 11 or Dec. 24.