Herpes Tonight!

Solo performer Corey Moosa's identity is forged by two things: pop culture and his herpes diagnosis. He swirls them together here, renaming herpes as Star Trek's "Orion Slave Girl"; cold sores become "the Incredible Hulk," and HPV is "Oscar the Grouch." The ex who infected him is "Kelly Ripa," while his first love is "Kathie Lee Gifford," and his best pals are "Billy Crystal" and "George Clooney." With such distancing jocularity, the kitsch factor is high, the empathy and honesty nearly nonexistent. Moosa and co-writer Brian Shoaf are obsessed with easy jokes; Moosa alludes to feeling guilty for pursuing the disease by going commando with "Kelly," flushed with hormones and invulnerability, but this particular scene's really about him clutching Ripa's 8x10 and moaning "Oh Kelly, I want you so bad." Bopping between sincerity and standup, director Jose Zayas can't overcome the production's offhand casualness, although the moments when Moosa confronts the stigma of herpes via our culture of silence, misinformation and media hype (in the 1980s, a Time magazine cover called herpes "Today's Scarlet Letter") are more engaging than his slide show of faux-movie titles, like Herpes and the Hendersons. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: June 6. Continues through July 12, 2008


Sponsor Content