Zany, Witty, Laughter-Filled “The Judy Show”, “My Life As A Sitcom”
At The Theatre with Audrey Linden
Solo performer, stand-up comedian, Judy Gold has brought her very funny one woman show to the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theatre at the Geffen. Her life was influenced, like all of us, by television sitcoms.
Imagine this six foot three performer who reached her max height in her teens trying to fit into the average “sitcom” mold. Could she really be one of the “Brady Bunch”? Therein lays the humor. Judy Gold did not fit in. Yet, she kept trying.
This expanded stand-up routine was conceived and very well written by Judy Gold and Kate Moira Ryan and directed by Amanda Charlton. Additional material was written by Eric Kornfeld and Bob Smith with original music by Judy Gold. Kudos for giving us a very entertaining and funny show with the great nostalgic film clips from our favorite family sitcoms in the background.
This show is Gold’s sitcom version done live, as she traces her early beginnings with photos of herself and her family and her “television families”. She tried to sell her “life as a sitcom” several times but the project was nixed as not ready for prime time and even the gay network turned it down. So, a theatrical version was a natural. And who knows what producer from T.V. land might be in the audience now and pick it up? “Why don’t I have my own T. V. show?” “How the f—k do I know?” And Gold proceeds to give us her own show.
Gold pulled us in with her natural warmth and ability to relate to the audience. She gave an endearing view of herself immediately in the opening as a “funny, six foot three, Jewish Lesbian comedian mother of two sons living in a apartment building with my ex”. That’s a mouthful, and it is repeated in slightly different variations, as if we needed reminding of who that tall presence on the stage was. Actually, she was following the advice of Sherwood Schwartz who said to tell it all on one sentence and hook them.
Gold was different from the beginning as a toddler who was into “head banging”. We saw baby Judy in her stroller happily banging and bobbing her head in the background. Since Gold did not come from a typical sitcom norm family, she crawled into the T V set and became part of her favorite families. Gold told her story with photos and clips from “The Brady Bunch”, contrasted with “The Gold Bunch”, “Gilligan’s Island”, “The Partridge Family”, “the Waltons”, “Room 222”, “Welcome Back Kotter” for her high school years, “Mary Tyler Moore”, “the Golden Girls”, “Laverne and Shirley” etc. Her stand-up material was very cleverly threaded into her T. V. life which was contrasted with photos of her real family life.
In between, the warm and likeable Gold sang the title songs from the shows and some of her original songs. She took us from her formative years in which communication was either “screaming or not talking” to her Jewish sleep-away camp, to high school and college. It was finally in college at Rutgers that Gold hit her stride and fit in by doing stand-up comedy which took her to New York and the beginning of a successful career as a stand-up comic and writer. She was a writer-producer for “The Rosie O Donnell Show”.
In New York, she also came out and found the Jewish mother of her dreams with partner, “Schwendy”. Her story continued to the present with her mother, bless her, at 90 in a home for the aged which resembles “ Buckingham Palace”. “They are screaming, “Help me, help me” and those are the nurses”.
Gold traced her first love, “Schwendy”, her first real success in Vegas, the breakup of her relationship to three rejections of her life as a sitcom. Issues as “who is the man and who is the woman” in a lesbian relationship were brought up”. The network told her, “America is not ready for a gay family.” “Neither is my mother.” Her show is hilariously funny and peppered with absolute gems. About her mother’s remarks about her Vegas show, “I came, I saw, I criticized.” “My family is as funny as the musical version of “Ordinary People.” I loved that one!
Aside from being a great story teller and stand-up comedian, Gold is adept at creating the different characters in her life from her mother, her sister, her sister’s shrink, the bratty girls at camp, etc.
Judy Gold, the gal who lived “inside a T. V. set,” whose world was shaped by the sitcoms she watched, will not give up until she gets her view of life on television. With the new ruling on gay marriages, her life is becoming a “new normal.” I hope some network picks up on her “life as a sitcom”. We all could get a weekly dose of good laughter with “The Judy Show.” Judy Gold has been ready for Prime Time. The question is if Prime Time is ready for some really funny and refreshing new material.
“The Judy Show: My Life As A Sitcom” at the Geffen’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theatre in Westwood, runs through July 28th. For tickets and show times call 310-208-2028 or go on line to www.geffenplayhouse.com
Audrey Linden is a writer, actress and singer. She can be seen in a long-running “Associated Tax Resolution” commercial, two “Little Caesars” spots, a “Teva International Pharmaceutical” short, Gene Simmons’ “Family Jewels,” “America’s Court with Judge Ross,” VHS “Tough Love 2,”etc. She just did a “Wendy’s” spot for Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim”.
Audrey teaches ON CAMERA COMMERCIAL and IMPROV WORKSHOPS through the City of Beverly Hills, Community Services. To register, call 310-285-6850. Her classes are held at 241 Moreno Dr. B.H. 90212. The next class starts in September. For more information, contact Audrey at firstname.lastname@example.org