A “Renaissance geek,” according to Paul Stroili, is a straight man who’s fine-honed his sensitivity and aesthetic instincts, the better to attract women.
In “Straight Up With a Twist,” he describes his own such inclinations, which enabled him to select his wife’s wedding dress.
As she put it, “You’re like a gay friend I can have sex with.”
“Straight Up With a Twist,” which the comedian/actor’s been performing off and on for several years, is an autobiographical monologue in which he plays himself and others.
These include Stroili’s chain-smoking mother, who worries when she finds his stash of Playboy, Penthouse and Wine Spectator magazines; his Italian father, who laments, “I had hoped that both of my sons would be boys” his pelvis-thrusting brother, who makes Andrew “Dice” Clay seem refined; and his shrink, who clearly has issues of his own.
Though Stroili renders these caricatures with great comic brio, it’s when he relaxes and plays himself that the show is most engaging.
Particularly fun is a segment in which he displays a series of horrible, ’70s-era fashion faux pas, including the ubiquitous Member’s Only jacket (“Every male here over the age of 34 had one of these”) and a mock game show titled “It’s All Geek to Me,” featuring players recruited from the audience.
Though the concept wears thin over the show’s 75 minutes, it’s infused with enough hilarious one-liners to more than compensate. And the droll, affable Stroili, who makes a metrosexual seem macho, seems so genuinely happy in his own skin that he made me want to upgrade my wardrobe.