Actor-singer Darron Cardosa has performed professionally for twenty-five years, and he’s waited tables for nearly as long. Since 2008 he’s been writing “The Bitchy Waiter,” a very popular blog about his experiences in, and his opinions about, the food service industry. Now he’s put it all together in an evening of songs and anecdotes called “The Bitchy Waiter Show,” which he debuted at the Metropolitan Room and will soon be taking to Don’t Tell Mama. It is at once the most hilarious show put on by a singer since Bette Midler first came on the club scene and the best singing by a comic since Lea DeLaria switched from stand-up comedy to music.
The hilarity starts with a bitchy remark Cardosa makes to the audience (a wildly enthusiastic packed house on opening night) and continues throughout the evening in anecdotes and commentary inserted between musical numbers and interjected into songs. Among the things he talks about are a comically bizarre incident that happened when he worked as a dishwasher in a restaurant in Texas in 1985 (his first job), how he reacted when a customer left an insultingly small tip, the annoying behavior of kids and the eccentricities of old people. Three things about the spoken portions of the show are noteworthy: (1) the writing is of a very high quality—crisp and smartly phrased; (2) the abundant barbed humor unfailingly hits its mark; and (3) Cardosa’s delivery couldn’t be sharper.
The musical selections, culled from a diversity of sources and genres, and the dialogue are beautifully matched and skillfully interwoven. For example, one segment flows from David Allen Coe’s “Take This Job and Shove It,” through Cardosa’s anecdote about quitting a restaurant precipitately, and lands at Terre Roche’s “Mr. Sellack” when he returns to the same restaurant to ask for his job back. He follows his observations on elderly customers with “Old People,” his very funny modified version of Randy Newman’s “Short People” (not to be confused with Paul Shanklin’s political rewrite of the Newman song, which bears the same altered title). A sweetly sung “You Walk with Me” (David Yazbek) is aligned with Cardoza’s affectionate reminiscences of his grandmother Rita; very touching, this pairing provides one of the evening’s few non-comic moments. Other songwriters whose works are represented include Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, Rupert Holmes, and Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx—occasionally with lyrics enhanced to fit the context. Throughout, Cardosa displays a sure, lovely tenor, and musical director David Shenton accompanies admirably on the piano.
In addition to being immensely entertaining, the evening is so artfully put together that one is likely to be surprised—and impressed—to learn that Cardosa developed it without the aid of a director. Oh, and a door prize is given away at each performance.
“The Bitchy Waiter Show”
Metropolitan Room – June 22
Don’t Tell Mama – August 4, September 6
About the Author
Roy Sander has been covering cabaret and theatre for over thirty years. He’s written cabaret and theatre reviews, features, and commentary for seven print publications, most notably Back Stage, and for CitySearch on the Internet. He covered cabaret monthly on “New York Theatre Review” on PBS TV, and cabaret and theatre weekly on WLIM-FM radio. He was twice a guest instructor at the London School of Musical Theatre. A critic for BistroAwards.com, he is also the site’s Reviews Editor; in addition, he is Chairman of the Advisory Board of MAC.