Anthony J. Piccione
Until the time of reviewing this show, I had never been to the People’s Improv Theater during the past year that I’ve spent thus far living in New York. I’d heard many good things, and I’d even considered the possibility of one day taking another improv class (my first since my high school days) at a theater such as the PIT. With this show, I was excited to finally have the chance to pay a visit. After arriving early to get my ticket and a bit of waiting, the house was eventually open, and I had a seat in the very relaxed, intimate venue that was the PIT Underground, where there was a stage that had a vintage-style microphone and a typewriter on a small table in place, and eventually, out came the leading man of our show who started out by sitting behind it and typing.
The man I am referring to is Dylan Brody, the star of the one-man show I’d come to see called Dylan Brody’s Driving Hollywood. For those who are unfamiliar, Brody is an award-winning writer and comedian who has written several acclaimed books such as Laughs Last and A Tale of a Hero and the Song of Her Sword, had previously written for TV programs such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, received the 2005 Stanley Drama award for his play Mother May I and whose work has previously been praised by legends such as Carl Reiner, George Carlin and Robin Williams. I was eager to find out what exactly I was in store for this evening, given the high praise I have heard of him.
As one could imagine, given that the show was written and is performed by a comedian, there are quite a few moments of humor in here. However, at the core of this show – directed by Nancy Carlin and produced by Blue Panther Productions – is the story of Mr. Brody’s life, which on occasion, proved to be quite full of poignant moments. When listening to the life stories of various artists – but especially, this can be the case for comedians – we often see how many aspects of their lives might not always feel so pleasant, even as they have succeeded in entertaining so many people in their careers, and that’s exactly what we see here in this show, where he talks about various moments from his childhood days in 2nd grade to some of his earliest successes and disappointments as a comedian and writer.
Still, there were many parts in there that I found to be funny, as did the rest of the audience in attendance. I don’t want to give away too many of the jokes, but among the ones I personally enjoyed most were when he got sent to the principal’s office for submitting a review for his school newspaper of his school’s production of Oklahoma which was critical of how off-key the singing was, as well as a bit where he talked about performing in a chapel – during his early stand-up years – and making drug-related and sexually explicit jokes. Although then again, I will say, he briefly said during the show that he rewrites the show a bit for each night, so it’s quite possible that if you go, you might be treated to a slightly different show from the one I enjoyed!
Generally, I found it to be an enjoyable work, and a good look into the life of a comedian and writer that I’m sure many in the arts could relate to, in some way or another. As I was seated in the audience, it seemed that many of the others in that room tonight had also enjoyed themselves and stayed to talk with Mr. Brody afterwards, so if what I’ve described to you sounds like something you might be interested in, I would recommend it and encourage you to consider coming down to the People’s Improv Theater and seeing the show for yourself.
“Dylan Brody’s Driving Hollywood” runs at the PIT Underground from July 6-22. For more information, please visit www.bluepantherproductions.com/dylan-brodys-driving-home/.
Anthony J. Piccione is a playwright, producer, screenwriter, activist, critic, essayist, poet and occasional actor based on New York City. Most recently, Piccione’s one-act plays “The End of the Line at the End” and “The Personality Play” have been produced at Manhattan Repertory Theatre, while his one-act play “Two Cousins and a Pizza” was produced at the Hudson Guild Theatre as part of the NYWinterfest. Next up, his new children’s play “An Energy Tale” can be seen this summer at the Midtown International Theatre Festival (https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/975011). He received his BA in Theatre from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2016, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. To learn more about Mr. Piccione’s recent and upcoming productions, please visit www.anthonyjpiccione.tumblr.com and be sure to follow him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AnthonyJPiccione.OfficialPage), Twitter (@A_J_Piccione) and Instagram (anthonyjpiccione).