By: Paulanne Simmons
Contrary to its title, Shut Up Sit Down & Eat has little to do with consuming a meal. The comedy, which has returned to the Snapple Center, is about three Italian men (Eric Tartaglione, Joe Moffa, Chris Monty) waiting in a therapists outer office, and one woman (Tina Giorgi), who unbeknownst to them, is the very therapist they are scheduled to see.
Directed by Eve Brandstein, the show, which was co-written by the performers, moves quickly through its 90-minute running time. The characters do interact from time to time, but the show is mostly made up of monologues directed to the audience. And although the humor plays upon every known Italian stereotype, it is quite funny at times.
Curiously, often the show is funniest when it is least Italian. The three men comment on their roles as husband, father and breadwinner in the 21st century. It seems they are mostly unsuccessful in all these roles. The are indignant, ironic, swaggering and sometimes sad.
Because the men are narcissistic and often insensitive, the audience is eager to laugh at them. But much of what they say is also painfully true. And this makes us laugh with them.
Giorgi’s part is more nuanced. She represents the woman’s point of vies and is often at odds with the men. But she is also not nearly as comfortable with her ethnicity. And when she references the tragedy of 9/11, she adds a somber note that is not entirely in k
eeping with the mood of the piece.
Although all the performers have acting credits, they seem most comfortable as stand-up comics, and it is here that Shut Up Sit Down & Eat has its greatest strength. Fans of hotel and cabaret comedy should thoroughly enjoy this show. It is best watched with a drink in hand.
Shut Up Sit Down & Eat, at the Snapple Center, 1627 Broadway, through May 31.