Review: In defense of 'Caveman'

“Defending the Caveman” — Rob Becker’s hit one-man comedy exploring the differences between the sexes that originated in 1991 in San Francisco — is back in The City.

Having gone on to become the longest-running solo show on Broadway, “Caveman” also has become a branded franchise. The good news is that the current version here, starring Portland, Ore.-raised actor Isaac Lamb — not Becker — is as amusing as ever.

While there’s nothing particularly earth-shattering or revelatory about Becker’s observations about men, women and men and women together, they remain funny — in part because they are so familiar, and, well, obvious.

The show, really little more than a standup comedy routine that has a particular theme and a touch of scenery (cave paintings, a seat, a TV that looks like something from “The Flintstones”), starts with a goofy video of Lamb and his wife around the house. The contrast between the pair’s ways immediately sparks audience laughter. The best montage shows the gal gleefully trying on a series of stylish outfits, clearly preparing to go out; then there’s a quick cut to the guy rummaging through the clothes hamper in search of the least-smelley item.

Lamb goes on to elucidate that the gap between the genders goes back to caveman days, when men were hunters, on a mission with a single goal, and women gatherers, receptive to assistance and information from wherever they could find it. The two are basically different cultures.

How that has played through the eons continues today, he says: How else to explain why, no matter how hard a man tries, he simply doesn’t care whether wedding invitation envelopes are cream-colored or white.

Women, he claims, aren’t hindered by logic when they argue; they’re also dependent on words in ways that men aren’t. Women typically use 7,000 words in a day, while men clock in with a mere 2,000.

For women, getting details is of prime importance, he says, but that’s not the case with men, who can have a good time and not talk about it.

In the end, Lamb’s stories are as sweet as they are sexist. When his wife laughs at him about his attempt to clean the bathroom, he quickly asks her, “Why don’t you go program the VCR?”

lkatz@examiner.com

IF YOU GO

Defending the Caveman

Where: Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $55

Contact: (415) 771-6900 or www.ticketmaster.com

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