Move over, Sarah Jones. Step aside, Anna Deavere Smith. Spunky ingénue Mia Dolan is in town with a solo show of her own. As she writes in the kind of email that gives publicists nervous collapse, “This play is truly a labor of love for me, and I cannot wait to show you what I’m capable of.”
Mia, who has yet to master Bcc or a greeting warmer than “Dear Sir/ Madam,” is the struggling actress and occasional soft-shoer at the center of “La La Land,” the Damien Chazelle film that won the Best Picture Oscar for a minute or so in February. In one of the movie’s more cringe-inducing moments, Mia performs her semi-autobiographical one-woman show (which is possibly about her dipso aunt, it’s unclear) to a nearly empty theater.
Most of us can sleep nights without wondering what marvels Mia’s show included. (It somehow involved a hat box. And a lamp. And maybe the Eiffel Tower.) But not the comedian Jimmy Fowlie. In the slap-happy parody “So Long Boulder City,” he imagines Mia’s lost masterpiece.
Stomping onstage in a white shirt, black skirt, sensible flats and rose gold wig, Mr. Fowlie doesn’t look a lot like Emma Stone, who won an Oscar playing Mia in the movie. His jaw is stronger, his stubble obvious, his legs unshaven. But he has a credible cock of the hip and tilt of the head as he re-creates Mia’s journey from Boulder City dreamer to Boise State University party girl to Los Angeles part-time barista.
Here’s where I would like to tell you about the all-consuming, cramp-inducing hilarity of Mr. Fowlie’s script, co-written and directed by Jordan Black. I can’t do that. Most of the jokes hit me as grin-worthy at best, and Mr. Fowlie seemed too convinced of his own funniness, pausing after each line in anticipation of the laugh.
But I can tell you that the laughs did come and that a lot of the opening night audience at SubCulture in Manhattan seemed in danger of actually busting a gut. Maybe several guts. Howls and roars and squeals greeted each dig: at L.A. targets like Scientology and at “La La Land” implausibilities like the mysteriously unguarded and gravity-free Griffith Park Observatory.
“So Long Boulder City” saves most of its skewering for the torture called show business, from Mia’s observation that a B.F.A. is “the one thing that makes every Hollywood producer take you seriously” to her narcissistic determination to write and stage her play. But the satire is scattershot, the zingers not so zingy.