by: Beatrice Williams-Rude
“Brian Dykstra $elling Out” should be . . . It should be sold out for a very long time.

While appreciating George Carlin, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Brian Dykstra takes political comedy to a new high: think Mort Sahl on steroids.

Brian Dykstra’s rapid-fire delivery is like a barrage of machine-gun fire in which each bullet is a trenchant nugget of knowledge based on observation and analysis.The blackest of black humor is presented so enthusiastically, that one laughs heartily and even the purple language doesn’t offend. Brian Dykstra has turned the rant into an art form–high art.

The theme of the production is money: who has it, who doesn’t; corporations having the rights of people, but not the responsibilities; destroying the planet for profit; corrupting the democratic process by inundating it with money.

Brian Dykstra, in addition to having split-second comic delivery, is a splendid actor, making the audience empathize with Somali pirates, no small feat. He takes on organized religion and deals with science deniers. Throughout, he shows an enormous range of knowledge including Greek mythology, strata of the earth, international affairs, the U.S. Constitution with special attention to the 14th and 4th Amendments, the workings of government, and the impact of legal decisions.

He takes on the concept of “legal Fiction” and juxtaposes Supreme Court decisions resulting in reductio ad absurdum.

He begins with a recitation of the myriad synonyms for money then shows how language is affected. Upon meeting someone a frequent opener is “What do you do?” which, according to Dykstra, is really a question about one’s source of income. “What do you do to get money?” (“Get” money, not necessarily “earn” money.)

He tackles the health industry, the meat industry, “too big to fail banks,” big oil, agriculture and how corn syrup is in virtually everything. He also speaks of love.

The energy expended on this passionate solo show could light Manhattan. Brian Dykstra’s brilliance draws laughs even as it makes one think and examine one’s own positions. It’s not an audience-participation event, yet the audience is involved. Exhorted to cry “Fire” in a crowded theater because our democracy is burning as is our planet, the packed house rings with cries of “Fire.”

Brian Dykstra, an award-winning playwright, actor and poet, has appeared on Broadway, Off Broadway, in theaters around the U.S. and abroad, and his works have been presented in most of those venues as well. He also has TV and film credits. He both wrote and is the sole performer in “Brian Dykstra $elling Out.”

The show, produced by Eric Krebs, was splendidly directed by Margarett Perry. Set and lighting are by David L. Arsenault; Don Tindall, sound; Lisa Boquist, costumes; and Lesley Greene, projections.

It opens on Feb. 9 and will play Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 7:00pm and Saturdays at 2:00 through March 10 at the Playroom Theater, 151 West 46th Street, 8th floor.
So rush to the computer (www.SellingOutOffBroadway.com) to buy tickets for this wildly hilarious, thought- provoking show.

Photo credit: Ed Dittenhoefer.