DON'T ASK...DON'T TELETUBBY!, GayCo Productions, at the Second City, Donny's Skybox Studio. Last summer's Everyone's Coming Out, Rosie! is the proverbial hard act to follow. The current gay-themed comedy revue never turns into the same kind of laugh riot, but it's consistent in its unflinching look at the blind spots and contradictions of the gay community. Exposing or exploiting lavender stereotypes, Norm Holly's 60-minute staging profits from nicely focused comic turns, and the prolific Eric Lane Barnes's songs are always on the money.
The strongest bits reverse expectations. A devoted mother tracks her boy down to his favorite leather bar, then doles out maternal advice to surprisingly tenderhearted dominatrices and slave masters. A lesbian at her commitment ceremony deadpans a passive-aggressive folk song to her beloved cataloging a whole caseload of domestic oppression. A gay man who dared to turn 40 is arrested by the youth police and dragged off to the home for old queens. And two women in boot camp manage to have a torrid affair without ever asking or telling.
Less successful is a clumsily resolved scene in which a terrorist demands domestic-partner benefits at a United Airlines diversity seminar. A scene portraying gays as plantation slaves comes awfully close to misguided caricature, and it's still hard to tell what is supposed to be gut busting about superheroine Diminutive Lesbian and her partner, Madge. Still, laughs outnumber yawns four to one. --Lawrence Bommer