This website uses cookies. If you continue to use the site, your agreement will result in cookies being set.

The Performers

Review by Tulis McCall

This may just be the stupidest play ever written. Oh, I have seen worse - and dragged you through the gory bits more than once. But for downright s-t-u-p-i-d, the award goes to The Performers. And guess what else? It's funny. Cheyenne Jackson in particular is quite fine playing a man whose elevator got stuck just on the mezzanine level just above puberty. I wonder if that's a good thing...

Anyway, The Performers, in the space of a few very unimportant minutes, manages to demean women, men and those who like to watch them on the big screen performing all manner of sexual acts. According to this script, the collective IQ of these porn stars does not equal the temperature of boiling water.

Mandrew, who, as I said is perfectly embodied by Cheyenne Jackson, is preparing to go to the Adult Performer Awards. He is being interviewed by his childhood friend, Lee (Daniel Breaker) for an article in the New York Post that Mandrew confuses with the New York Times, not to mention the part where he keeps asking about the centerfold. Mandrew is giving Lee the ins and outs of being a porn star. A porn star is someone who excites you sexually but not emotionally. This means that Mandrew is not really a Porn star at all; he is a Love Star. He makes l-o-v-e. Although his actual description of his work doesn't make it sound like that.

Mandrew is married to Pussy Boots, A/K/A Peeps, (Ari Graynor) who is a woman of small breasts and even smaller brain, except when she really needs one. In Peeps case small breasts are what keep her in the pool to be cast as the young lead in a movie. Big breasts will get you cast as a librarian, which will be your downfall. Peeps is in the middle of several dilemmas. She is preparing for her presentation speech at the awards - she has trouble differentiating between her lines and the words she is not supposed to read - like her own name. She is also mad at her best friend Sundown LeMay (Jenni Barber) who had breast surgery without telling Peeps, and now has a set of breast the size of Delaware. And these are not real, folks. No, they are the fake. Fake as in a plastic set of breasts that are so very ugly they raise the level of bad taste in costuming to skyscraping heights. The final ingredient tin Peeps' dilemma is that she is Pregnant.

PEEPS - I'm pregnant. With a baby.
MANDREW - Is it mine?
PEEPS - Yes, you fucking fuck.
MANDREW - Baby, you've fucked a lot of guys...
PEEPS - I've been careful. They always cum on my face.

See what I mean about being funny and stupid and demeaning all in one? Let's see what else.... Oh yeah - Henry Winkler as a porn star? I don't think so - maybe a retired porn star. But not one that is in the running for an award. Not with a polyester suit and an expanding waistline and a heart of gold that no one knows. Stop it.

Alicia Silverstone is ineffectual as Lee's fiancée Sarah who is finally hitting the wall about waiting for a wedding date, and decides to take matters into her own hands by leaping in to the porn party.

Watching this show is like taking your brain to a brisk car wash. There is a lot of froth, a bit of noise, some serious commotion, and then all is rinsed off with a great gush of water and sent down the drain. Any brain cells that you weren't using are simply gone after watching this show. So you feel refreshed enough to stand up and dig out your ticket because it has occurred to you that maybe the ticket was free or that, even better, someone paid you to watch this show.

They didn't. Too bad. We coulda made out.

(Tulis McCall)

"The planet of second-tier sitcoms."
Ben Brantley for NY Times

"Everyone in the limp comedy hails from the planet Stupid."
Joe Dziemianowicz for NY Daily News

"The show never bothers with anything besides raunchy wisecracks that get less and less funny as the evening wears on."
Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post

"More gag-inducing than gag-filled."
Erik Haagensen for Back Stage

"The reputations of the entire cast are diminished by Read and director Evan Cabnet, neither of whom seem to appreciate the difference between stupid-funny and stupid-gross."
Robert Feldberg for The Record

"The cast works on this fluff like expert fluffers.."
David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter

"The big pleasure comes from watching true comic artists spin this trite material into gold."
Steven Suskin for Variety

New York Times - New York Daily News - New York Post - Back Stage - The Record - Hollywood Reporter - Variety

Originally published on