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This New York-imported solo act spins pop culture and consumerist references in a blender

Wednesday, Jan 21 2004
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Like The Circus Head Show, Mike Albo's New York-imported solo act spins pop culture and consumerist references in a blender, producing something uneven but nutty. Albo emphasizes acting and verbal dexterity more than the mimicry and video experiments of Circus Head, and his first piece is a soundscape of commercial chatter -- strung-together nonsense you might hear from a Starbucks employee or a bank of screens in Circuit City. He also does a mock-Britney Spears dance and a skit about Tony Testa, "Miss Jennifer Lopez's personal assistant," who negotiates orgasms for Miss Lopez on his cell phone. The funniest bit, as Albo seems to realize, is a hideously frivolous recurring character, a gay actor who's just landed a $2 million movie deal and not-so-subtly snubs the invisible former friend he meets at a cafe, or a party, or yoga class. "Oh, you know what? Keep talking," he says. "I just have to make a really fast phone call." On a preview night, though, Albo seemed to lack the cruel energy his material demands; in general, he's not the dynamo his advance press makes him out to be. His consumer-humor material is funny, but in the end not original or new: It's like making fun of TV.

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