“Robbie Jensen” Needs Help Helping You
Here in Southern California, you’re probably never more than a mantra away from someone who’s paid good money for a seminar, books, or even an entire course offered by the latest self-help guru du jour claiming to be able to steer the wandering herds of miserable, clueless folks onto a path towards riches, wellness, and happiness – on approved credit, that is. The self-help industry is ripe for parody and Robbie Jensen, the alter ego of actor/writer Tony Matthews, with help from co-writer Matt Schofield and director Craig Woolson, jumps gleefully into the mix with both feet firmly planted in his mouth. The one-man show, “Robbie Jensen: The Twelve Steps of Christmas” is now playing at the NoHo Arts Center.
Broken into four segments over the course of a year, Jensen goes from dynamic, relentlessly self-promoting Life Coaching Journeyman to something a bit closer to the bottom of the heap once he finds out that his “perfect marriage” is on shaky ground. Comparisons to Stephen Colbert are apt in that they both satirize the same sort of blissfully pompous, self-serving egomaniac. However, while Colbert almost never breaks character, Matthews and Co. let Jensen fall into a morass of “where did I go wrong?” self-therapy in the fourth segment which, unfortunately, tends to blunt the sharp edge of satire that the first segment so deftly establishes. Nevertheless, Matthews delivers a witty show, bringing audience members onstage as examples and leading group chants to help his followers – “Robbie Rousers,” as they’re known – achieve their own “Superlative LivesTM”