Wednesday, May 13, 1970
'Groove Tube'
by John L. Wasserman
Cabaret Satire On TV Tape

     Maybe the ecstasy created by the new "Groove Tube" show at the Savoy Tivoli is traceable more to conditioning than wit, but the fact remains that the ecstasy is there.
     The "Groove Tube" is a theatrical presentation of cabaret satire through the medium of television, whatever that means. Picture the Committee or the Pitschel Players doing a show, both in a theater and on location. Now videotape the entire mess, edit it to an hour and a half of the best stuff and show it to an audience through closed-circuit monitors. Presto, the "Groove Tube."
      It has existed on the East Coast for nearly three years, but Monday night's opening in a separate room of the North Bear bar and restaurant (1438 Grant Avenue) marked the West Coast premiere of what turned out to be no less than one of the funniest shows I have ever seen.
      "Groove Tube," which was directed by Kenneth Shapiro and written by Shapiro and Lane Sarasohn, comprises some 28 sketches, mock commercials and social comments. The sound balancing and clarity could be improved, several of the bits are a hair too long, and one or two don't make it, but the great bulk of the material ranges from merely delightful to outright genius.
      The first half is stronger, including "Faces" (how to mouth a symphony), "Ko-Ko the Clown" (Almost too true to be funny), "Pinball" (an exercise in form and perspective), and "Robert Elgin and the News," while the second half is mostly distinguished by "Olympics," a Wide World of Sports-type presentation of the annual Sex Games, live from Tijuana.
      Many of the bits are illogical (or logical, depending on your point of view) extensions of familiar TV idiocy; others are pure in the sense that they would have been equally funny if television did not exist. Some material is pretty earthy but most relies simply on taking the absurdities of the tube and extending them one step further.
      "Groove Tube" is lightweight and some may mutter that it's not, somehow, significant. Well and good. But if you would like to laugh a bit - long sometimes, hard often - it's certainly as sure a thing as is available in this city in the month of May, 1970, anno disaster.   

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