The late-night shows change every week, but if Fun Time With Quirk & Rayner is an accurate indication of the standard, the rest of the run is worth a visit. Magician, mind-reader and charlatan Rob Zabrecky opened the evening, with the appearance and temperament of your local undertaker. Yes, he could blindly identify the drawings made by random audience members, and he made a pack of playing cards diminish in size each time he shuffled. The real deal was the macabre demeanor and his asides about being an odd child. It was his grandfather’s 95th birthday. The old man made an appearance in an urn topped with a party hat. Englishwoman Moira Quirk followed with a slide show about her two kids with hubby — and main act — Michael Rayner. When you give birth, she explained with droll cheer, first comes the baby, then the placenta, and you feel everything that ever made you interesting as a person dropping out of you. What followed was a pleasing photographic portrait of her young daughters, partly cherubic, partly demonic, told from a reluctantly suburban point of view. Rayner’s been on this stage before, and his act is much the same, which is not a problem, because the heart of the humor is not his ability to juggle a bowling ball and ax and rag doll, or to keep a tennis racket suspended by batting it between two sticks, or to disassemble a cheeseburger by having it roll along a swiftly turning parasol, or to juggle fire sticks while hanging upside down. No, that’s nothing. The act’s real joy comes when he catches the ax mid-flight, tongue perched on the tip of his lip and exclaims with glee, “Oh boy! That was close!” That’s the kid you always wanted to hang out with — the outsider who’s inside a Mad magazineuniverse — and whose oddity is a source of self-respect.
Fridays, 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 p.m. Starts: July 25. Continues through Aug. 23, 2008
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