The Judy Show
Judy Gold would like to star in her own television program, but in lieu of that she’s settling for a new autobiographical stand-up comedy routine, The Judy Show, now at the DR2 Theatre. Co-written with Kate Moira Ryan, the piece is often hilarious, even if the comic stretches out her material a little too long for maximum impact.
Within her 85-minute performance, subtitled “My life as a sitcom,” Gold uses some of her favorite childhood television programs as a jumping off point for her true-life tales. She describes how she identified with the characters in such offerings as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Good Times, while also sharing stories about — among other subjects — her awkward adolescence, her Jewish upbringing, her relationship with her parents, her career struggles, and how she is now a lesbian mother of two, sharing custody of her sons with her ex-girlfriend.
At several points in the proceedings, Gold takes to the piano to plunk out the melodies of various TV theme songs, often rewriting the lyrics to reflect her own life. She also serves up variations on what would be her own theme song should she actually be able to convince studio executives to greenlight her proposed sit-com. And while her singing voice is not so strong, she makes up for it in enthusiasm and comic delivery.
Amidst the comedy, Gold provides a more serious commentary about what kind of lives tend to get represented on television, and how despite recent political gains such as the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, there’s still a ways to go in terms of acceptance of non-traditional families.
As someone who grew up on such television fare as The Facts of Life, Welcome Back Kotter, Family Ties, Laverne & Shirley, and The Brady Bunch, I admittedly fall within Gold’s target demographic. But I do wonder how her jokes translate to younger audiences who may not be as familiar with these shows. True, Gold provides enough of a capsule summary of each of the programs she describes to give context to her storytelling, but the heady whiff of nostalgia is what makes so much of the piece work.
There are also stretches within The Judy Show that could use some judicious editing, and director Amanda Charlton could do more to help Gold focus her act. Still, the performer has such a winning on-stage persona that it’s easy to forgive whatever minor missteps exist and simply enjoy the performance.