Credit: Joan Marcus

Old Hats

Bill Irwin and David Shiner have been clowning around for so long, you’d think their shtick in Old Hats would be more, well, old hat. But the rubber-limbed clowns (seriously, do they have any joints at all?) — back at Off Broadway’s Pershing Square Signature Center with a reprise of their 2013 hit — are as irresistible as ever.

Even familiar sketches such as “The Waiter,” which features Irwin and an especially stretchy pile of spaghetti, prove uncommonly funny. Shiner’s well-worn “Cowboy Cinema,” starring a cast of audience members struggling to follow his breakneck pantomimed directions, is downright hysterical. (And unless you want to end up riding an imaginary horse or shooting up a saloon with imaginary guns after downing imaginary shots, avert your eyes when Shiner wades into the aisles.) Meanwhile, “The Debate,” an entirely wordless smackdown between two indistinguishable cartoonish political candidates, is infinitely more entertaining than anything currently happening on the campaign trail. Just imagine if Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio ended up pummeling each other with foam mallets.

A five-member band, led by songstress Shaina Taub, provides accompaniment and original musical interludes that are right in step with Irwin and Shiner’s wacky sensibility (sample lyric: “Everyone is gonna die, so lighten up”). One catchy ditty is titled “You Never Get Old to Me.” Our sentiments exactly. A–

Old Hats
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