Monday, September 17, 2012

A Rat Pack Look at Modern Life

By Byrne Harrison

It's a well-worn comic trope that men today are merely washed-out versions of the manly men of yesteryear.  With our minivans, middle management jobs, political correctness, and prolonged adolescence encouraged by TV and movies, we are not the men that our fathers (or maybe grandfathers) were.

In his one-man show, "Mad Man," Mark Giordano invokes the last great period of manly men - the hard drinking, skirt-chasing, wisecracking men of the Rat Pack era.  The men who didn't need a team of stylists to look good, just a rumpled tux and some bourbon.  The ones who knew their place in the world, didn't obsess about their drinking, and started each day with a nice healthy smoke.

Wearing his own rumpled tux, and looking just as rakish as Dino, Sammy and Frankie after a night on the town, Girodano pokes at the insecurities of the men of his generation (of which I am one, so it resonated).  Walking the line between alcoholic and alcohol-ish.  Watching your friends deal with the realities of marriage, while you remain single.  Dealing with a culture that says everyone is special, whether they are or not.  What could easily have turned into a depressive rant about the realities and disappointments of life is kept light and remarkably funny.  Giordano is a nimble performer, leaping from topic to topic, never leaving his audience behind.

While Giordano's monologues are strong on their own, the show features a series of short films starring an alcoholic puppet bending his bartender's ear at the local dive bar.  These vignettes are a great touch (not to mention that using a children's show-style puppet is a nice juxtapostion next to his complaint about modern man's desperate attempt to hold on to adolescence).

In addition to great material and a charming, alcohol-ish leading man, "Mad Man" features quality work from director Peter Michael Marino, who does an expert job with the pacing in this show.

"Mad Man" is the perfect show for men of a certain age who just can't seem to figure out their place in the world.  Or people who just want to laugh and be entertained by a highly amusing and charming performer.

"Mad Man"
Written and performed by Mark Giordano
Directed by Peter Michael Marino
Video production by Jamie Greenberg & Mark Giordano

The People’s Improv Theater
123 East 24th Street (Between Park Ave. & Lexington Ave.)

Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-838-3006 or at

Saturday, September 22nd @ 9:30 pm
Saturday, September 29th @ 9:30 pm

More info at and

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