Hilarious take on men, women differences in ‘Defending the Caveman’

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The one-man show, “Defending the Caveman,” which played four days at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza recently, lived up to its reputation as a hilarious take on the differences between men and women, and how each cope with those differences.

Written by Rob Becker, the show is based on a man going back to prehistoric times to gain insight to the differences between men and women. Actor Cody Lyman did the tough job of relaying all the intricate, but definitely solid, dissimilarities between men and women. He, with Becker’s material, had the audience in stitches, with knowing nods from both camps.

The analogies of men as hunters and women as gatherers, and how those traits carry over to today’s times were hysterically funny, especially so because most of Becker’s comparisons are true. Men, Becker writes, are biologically programmed to focus on the kill, blocking everything else out, while the women must see more widely, to better gather a variety of foods-the woman gathers details.

To compare with modern day humans, when shopping, a man will go to a mall and “focus” on what he needs, a shirt, for example, and get the heck out of the store as soon as possible. A woman, because she is a gatherer, must see “everything” and “gather everything,” explaining why it takes her so much longer.

Another modern take on this hunter/gatherer analogy is television. A man, because he is so focused, will become one with the TV-in fact, he will become the TV, tuning everything else out. As Lyman explained this trait, he spoke of how his wife Maria sounded like an angry buzzing bee as he became one with his TV. Her buzz became angrier and angrier until he was forced to come out of his TV trance and ask her what she wanted. And when he asks patiently what she wants, “Nothing,” was her reply, as she huffed away, much to his hilarious frustration.

The remote control was another great example. Lyman talked about why men change TV channels so much-because they accomplish their goal, they “kill” and then move on to the next prey [channel]. Women, he explained, also change the channels constantly, but they stay longer at each station-to “gather” information.

Lyman, of course, related Becker’s material in a much more funny manner that can be conveyed here. The facial expressions and nuanced tone of voice Lyman used gave full force to the oh-so-funny truths about men and women.

There was also a sweet reference to how in prehistoric times the man’s job was to protect his woman and family; and then it turned-on-its head funny when Lyman acted out the “caveman” job of peering out the windows and locking everything up, only to be frightened out of his wits by something benign.

Becker’s play first opened in 1991 in San Francisco. It then went to Broadway in 1995 where it broke the record for the longest running solo show in Broadway history.