Review by John K. Adams
Paul Dooley is the consummate entertainer. He cannot help himself, which is to our benefit. Comedian, juggler, magician and writer, “born just too late for vaudeville,” he has a wealth of warm anecdotes about his 25-year journey to “overnight success.” His verbal sleight of hand draws us as easily as a magician pulls a quarter from your ear.
He honed his craft on stage, in The Second City troupe and in countless commercials years before being discovered in 1977 by Robert Altman starting his long movie career. Dooley appeared in four Altman films, including the iconic role of Wimpy in Altman’s Popeye (1980). He has played fathers in numerous TV shows and movies.
Now celebrating his 60th year in show business, Dooley conjures his life’s stories with a wry and self-deprecating perspective. He shares insights and inspirations like his hero, Buster Keaton. Using film clips, Dooley shares highlights of favorite past performances from commercials and stage that are still funny decades later.
With his light touch, Dooley shares his experiences and takes us on a journey examining fatherhood in his life, the movies and in our culture at large. By recounting a terrible personal loss, he brings the audience full circle as to the meaning of fatherhood and how its absence can affect us all. Dooley is a “celluloid father” who reveals fatherhood in all its dimensions.
Paul Dooley: “Movie Dad” is staged through Sunday, July 23 at Theatre West located at 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West in Los Angeles. For tickets and information call (323) 851-7977 or visit TheatreWest.org.