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Larry Litt

Workdays with Maury

Written and Performed by Joe Mande
353 West 14th St, NYC
by Larry Litt
Reviewed Aug. 5, 2008

Joe Mande is a very funny kid. He's also an ironic storyteller who understands the art, yes art, of self reflection as the highest form of comedy. Comedy works best when it falls on the comedian as the model of the bizarre society we live in. Mande's comedy education and experience has worked well for him.

In the not too subtle, but direct send up of his summer internship titled, Workdays with Maury, on the 'Maury (Povich) Show' he shows us how TV show biz works from his innocent nerd's eye view. He's the low man on the greasy office totem pole. However he's determined to get respect from Maury Povich, host and demigod of the 'Maury Show' empire. However he's not allowed to talk to or even look at Maury. How to win Maury over is summer Mande's quest.

In some ways this is a coming of age in New York story. But just barely. I believe Mande has his eyes on bigger game, namely creating an ironic character for mass consumption. He fits the Woody Allen model well. I'm sure Mande has studied Allen's charisma - asked himself why is there a cult of Woody? If he sticks with this line of comedy he may well be the next torchbearer of urban neurotic comedy.

Mande's use of big screen projections adds to the fun with visual wit. Secretive big business systems of communication are always impenetrable to outsiders. Mande shows us just how bizarre and basically cynical big time media really is. As if we didn't already suspect. But here it is revealed in digicam color and organized reality.

Joe Mande's 30 minute show is a welcome one man revelation of personal achievement over celebrity obstacles. If you ever see this show scheduled, definitely commit the effort to watch a master storyteller in the making.

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