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COMEDY : A Foot Soldier in the Prattle of the Sexes

July 28, 1994|GLENN DOGGRELL

The World According to Robert Dubac: Men will use the remote to watch TV. And that's the way it is. Women will shop for the same thing all day. And that's the way it is.

It's all in the genes.

Put a bunny in a playpen with a 5-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, Dubac continues, and eventually the boy will get rough with it.

It's all in the genes.

Men and women are different. But rather than try to reconcile it or analyze it to death, why not just accept the differences and work with them? That would save everyone time, trouble and tears.

To that end, Dubac came up with "The Male Intellect (an Oxymoron)," a one-man show running at Fullerton's Standing Room Only through Aug. 14. The 90-minute production, staged and directed by Mark Lonow, tries to find a navigable course somewhere between a lying, forgetful egoist who belches in church and the ideal partner who is sensitive, loving, honest and communicative.

"It's not bashing men, it's not bashing women," Dubac said recently from the club's supply room, which doubles as his dressing parlor. "It's just trying to find a balance."

On stage, Dubac portrays five voices from within, representing one-dimensional male stereotypes. He also responds to a female voice, which interjects thoughts and questions (a devil's advocate of sorts) over the sound system.

"Ironically, the characters came from women I knew, who liked a certain type of guy. The women were attracted to a father figure, or a guy who's very unattainable. From there, I make real broad strokes with the characters."

Dubac grew up in Atlanta and was making money doing magic at little gigs before he was 10. ("I've never had a real job. This put me through high school and college.") For years, he kept up the magic act, adding stand-up comedy as he went along. Eventually, he was opening for Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffett and Toto.

After studying journalism, psychology and theater at the University of Georgia, he moved to Los Angeles in the late '70s, opening for bands at the Roxy in addition to doing other stage work and acting. He landed a recurring role for three years starting in 1989 on the ABC soap "Loving," as well as parts on "Life Goes On" and "Growing Pains." His movie credits include "The Rookie" and "Sketch Artist."

The comedy boom in the '80s, and the ensuing glut of comics, gave Dubac the nudge to try something new. Besides, after being in front of the camera, he wanted to start creating again, especially something with a point of view.

This one-man show, with its mix of stand-up and observations, offers no answers but does prod some soul searching and push some opinions. Women talk, Dubac says, while men watch and do. How can we be equal when we're so different?

"I started this about 2 1/2 years ago, and it took a good half-year to nine months for it to be in presentable order, with a beginning, middle and end."

Dubac brings the show, which is decidedly female-friendly, here after seven weeks in Atlanta. He has also taken it to Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix since its inception, when he stopped doing his traditional stand-up act. Reviews have been favorable. In the fall, he's taking it Off-Broadway. Also, he and Warner Bros. are developing a sitcom based on the show.

"I had to invent a couple of new characters; it's too one-sided now. All men," he explained. "It's about a guy who's kind of stuck in the middle of chauvinistic friends and women who are too far on the other side. He's looking for a balance, he's trying to figure out a rational approach to the battle of the sexes."

Meantime, he's working on a couple of films and trying to put together another one-person play to stage in three or four years, which is what he figures to be the shelf life of "The Male Intellect."

So far, audience feedback has been good, which is no surprise. Dubac brings the characters to life with a polished delivery, covering much ground in the process.

"The reactions are different," Dubac, single and 39, explained. "I'd say women are apt to be more emotional in their feedback. Guys kind of relate to it because they go, 'I think like that, and I do want to change. This guys's doing it and showing we're not all jerks.'

"People come back and they bring their friends. It kind of grows into this minor phenomenon."

Glenn Doggrell writes about comedy for The Times Orange County Edition.

* Who: Robert Dubac in "The Male Intellect (an Oxymoron)."

* When: 8 p.m Thursdays, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 8 p.m. Sundays. Through Aug. 14, except Aug. 5 and 6.

* Where: Standing Room Only, 126 W. Orangethorpe Ave., Fullerton.

* Whereabouts: From the Riverside (91) Freeway, take Harbor Boulevard north, turn left onto Orangethorpe and left again into the first driveway at the Fullerton Metro Center. The club is on the left.

* Wherewithal: $8 to $10, with two-item minimum.

* Where to call: (714) 870-4400.

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