My Baptism From Brother Theodore

By Neil Singer

Years ago—I mean YEARS AGO—when I saw a posting in the Things to Do section of the Village Voice (when it was a paper and not just good for wrapping fish), I saw a theatrical ad for Brother Theodore and his one man sermon on the mount so to speak, in an off broadway (VERY off broadway theatre) in the West Village.

I probably would have passed it by only that I had been exposed to this man years earlier watching him on THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW. The way I remember it, he had his six to 10 minutes doing a standup screaming angry bit, and occasionally would do further insanity on a sit down with Merv and Arthur Treacher, where he would lay into Merv and the unfortunate guests also seated on the cushy chairs alongside. Brother Theodore was stunning to the audiences who were as confused as Merv appeared to be at the time. Of course it was all “comic schtick” but no one could really tell one way or another.

Brother Theodore seemed to be a guest several times a year dressed in an orthodox Roman Catholic frock. Was he a misfit of the local Catholic diocese or not? Who knew one way or the other. When I saw an ad for “Brother Theodore Off-Off-Broadway, it was a must for me and my NY friends (who by the way had never experienced his ravings for about 80 minutes or so, having never heard of him). Imagine Sam Kinison at volume 10 being an old world prophet to the naughty ones, and there you have Brother Theodore.

When it was over my five or six fellow travelers were glassy eyed stung for the next ten minutes or so, till we all managed to crawl back to a bar and began drinking fast and furiously. So, I pitched in “Wasn’t that great” and as I remember it, no one said a word for about 15 minutes. Finally someone spoke up saying “Where can we go to get a pizza?”

Well, that’s New York for ya.