The title of Larry Gelbart’s 1989 Broadway comedy, subtitled A Play on Words, may also be an allusion to what many Americans feel about our leaders in Washington, D.C.: that they’re just a bunch of jack-offs. It’s a hilarious indictment of the doublespeak from opportunistic politicians, government officials and the media as well as a skewering of our own lemminglike purchase of their perverse logic. When a financier runs afoul of the IRS and the government takes over his movie studio, the administration thwarts Congressional oversight and uses the guise of a revisionist Vietnam War movie shoot to ship arms to right-wing Latin American paramilitary forces, à la Reagan-era Iran-Contra scandal. When it all hits the fan, the ensuing hearings are more a farcical exercise in ass-covering and verbal gymnastics than fault-finding. Penny L. Moore’s direction hits some bumps along the way, but her fine cast makes up for the claustrophobic staging, with the standouts being Paul LaGreca as sycophantic IRS agent Abel Lamb, Price Carson as the martinet Major Manley Battle, Desi Bullock as pompous Secretary of State Bishop, and Craig Patton as the venal V.P. Burden.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: Oct. 3. Continues through Nov. 2, 2008

LA Weekly