SECOND CITY'S DEBATE '96, Second City. I suppose every age deserves the satire it gets. A sharp-witted, informed, opinionated age gets sharp-witted, informed, opinionated satire. A lazy, strategy-obsessed, television-besotted age gets a show like Second City's Debate '96, in which only the easiest targets--Bob Dole's grouchiness, Bill Clinton's cupidity, Ross Perot's ears--are lampooned.
Which is not to say Debate '96 isn't diverting. Joe Keefe does one hell of a Perot, and just hearing him yammer in that weird Texan twang is a treat. And Jeff Rogers and Charlie Hartsock aren't bad as Clinton and Dole, though I get the feeling they spent more time on their hair than on researching their characters. But the press materials promising "up-to-the-minute satire" led me to expect something more than warmed-over bits about Clinton's love for Big Macs and an actress in a brown wig bouncing around onstage, chanting "Go Liddy! Go Liddy! Go Liddy!"
-- Jack Helbig