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The Fix-Up Show

Although it's ostensibly a live-onstage dating game show, creator/host J. Keith van Straaten's comedy hybrid owes less of a debt to its venerable matchmaking forebears (The Dating Game, The Love Connection) than it does to the immortal You Bet Your Life. Like that granddaddy of mock TV quiz programs, in which real-life contestants merely served as comic fodder for the ad lib genius of Groucho Marx, The Fix-Up Show is built around the mercurial wit and barbed tongue of the dryly impish Van Straaten. Following introductory repartee between the host and his tongue-in-cheek announcer, Patti Goettlicher, a hapless bachelorette is interviewed and then ensconced backstage. Two of her best friends then join a celebrity guest questioner (this week it was legendary Hitchcock heroine Tippi Hedren) to grill and then vote on three consecutive bachelor prospects during two elimination rounds. The survivor wins the girl and dinner for two next door at Amalfi on a "date" whose video recap provides the prologue for next week's show. In this instance, the friends and movie star rejected a circus owner and a JPL spacecraft engineer in favor of a TV-graphics designer from Fairbanks, Alaska. And while the amateurs on the panel prove to be the format's Achilles heel, with their extemporaneous questions hamstringing as much as helping the comedy, it is a tribute to Van Straaten's considerable comic chops that the show reaps a laugh quotient of which even Groucho would be proud. ACME Comedy Theatre, 135 N. LaBrea Ave., Hlywd.; Wed., 8 p.m., through March 30. (646) 450-4349, thefixupshow.com.
Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Feb. 2. Continues through March 30, 2011

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