"At first, we couldn't decide whether we wanted to be interior decorators or entertainers," singer-comedian Gary Herb said with an impish wink. By the end of his show at the Cellar Door last night (he will also appear tonight) he had proven that he preferred singing songs to selecting sofas.
Herb, a former member of Gotham, could be called the Carol Channing of gay humor. He is brassy, chatty, cutesy, coy and oozes a kind of show-biz pizazz. He skat sings, tap dances, hurls one-liners and croons away all at a breakneck pace that resembles a 33 r.p.m. The Gary Herb Show (which includes pianist Johnny Potato) doesn't cook, it sizzles.
And yet, there is something disquieting about the tightly rehearsed set. Herb parades his gayness like a flag-waver on the Fourth of July, wasting his excellent sense of timing and acting on material that is, at times, a bit too "in" and predictable for its own good. Stock jokes bout suburbanites, first ladies and "princess phones" (and other, less printable subjects) become trite very quickly, even when accompanied by leers.
Gary Herb is certainly a gifted entertainer. It is a pity such a talent to be restricted to specialized tastes. Perhaps Herb should consider straightening up his act.