When I reviewed Douglas Carter Beane's The Little Dog Laughed Off-Broadway a few years ago (alas, this is all that's left online of the Broadway.com review--they've erased years of reviews from the site), Julie White's agent character had one line that stuck in my craw, as a longtime L.A. theater champion (who had in fact seen Julie White onstage in L.A.). It was about how they'd solved the problem of cellphones in the theater: "We've simply stopped doing theater altogether."
OK, fine--you can read this at the character's expense, if you choose, but I don't think that's how the line got its laughs. Now, more than two years later, White has brought the same gag to a stage in L.A. How does the joke play in the belly of its beastly target?
Leave it to the LA Weekly's Steven Leigh Morris, who already noted the diss in a piece last spring, to single it out in his review:
The agent makes a quip about how L.A. has solved the problems of cell phones in the theater by not doing theater. “Choices were made.” Big laugh. At what? A myth about L.A. that’s so false they don’t even believe it in New York anymore.
I was happy to note the review just below that one--my old Appalachian Twelfth Night colleagues, the Dancing Barefoot peeps, are staging Deb Pryor's Southern twister The Love Talker at Son of Semele. Yes, Virginia, they still do theater in L.A.