Review: Steve Solomon's comedy is ‘Therapy’

Steve Solomon is no Eddie Izzard, or Sacha Baron Cohen, or even Woody Allen, for that matter … maybe a low-rent Billy Crystal?

OK, so he’s not edgy. That doesn’t take away from the fact that his one-man show, “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy” packs some laughs.

Even the name of the show suggests he’ll be serving up jokes as old as the sun. But he delivers them with such nice comic timing and low-key good nature, you can’t help but like the guy.

A hit off-Broadway in New York and now onstage at San Francisco’s Marines Memorial Theatre, Solomon’s show couldn’t quite be called a theatrical production. It’s more of a 90-minute standup act (it runs a tad long) with a glorified set — his unusually well-appointed therapist’s office. While he’s waiting for his appointment to begin, he tells the audience the story of his life.

He begins by calling his mother and father on his cell phone and imparting some highly personal anecdotes; in their respective Italian and Jewish accents, they ask who’s on the line. Hardly original, it’s still funny.

While Solomon’s Jewish accent is spot-on, his Italian comes and goes. Yet it’s highly effective when he impersonates his mom in a bad mood as she punctuates her anger by making obscene gestures.

Even though Solomon’s persona is likable, it doesn’t mean his shtick is totally clean. The sex and bathroom humor is up (or down) to the level one might find on a weekend at a comedy club.

Solomon’s best bits deal with Judaism’s kosher laws. His re-enactment of his Jewish grandmother trying to explain to his Italian mother why it’s not OK to mix chicken and cheese but it’s OK to mix eggs and cheese goes down easily.

He also tells an amusing tales about how, to keep his kosher wife happy, he actually buries tainted silverware in his backyard.

Of course, he imparts the age-old rule practiced by reformed Jews across the land — that pork and shrimp are kosher in a Chinese restaurant. He doesn’t quite go to the level of “I’m on a seafood diet; when I see food, I eat it,” but almost.

In the end, Solomon exemplifies the notion that there are joys to be experienced in what’s warm and familiar.

IF YOU GO

My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy

Where: Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday (no shows July 4); 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 3 p.m. Sunday; closes July 22
Tickets: $37 to $69
Contact: (415) 771-6900 or www.ticketmaster.com

lkatz@examiner.com

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