John Leguizamo — whose successful one-man shows”Spic-o-Rama” and “Mambo Mouth” transferred from Off Broadway to cable — clearly is talented, and his considerable skills save many of the show’s sketches from being too painful to watch.
While some viewers may revel in the social commentary blended with ethnic satire, most are likely to find Leguizamo to be an equal-opportunity offender.
Backed by a Latino cast, Leguizamo pushes racial boundaries by poking fun at a number of targets. But while promising over-the-top humor with a Latin edge, many of the attempts are about as bland as a Tofu taco.
His Kogi character, an arrogant Japanese talkshow host, misses the target, but a spoof on the Hair Club for Men (in which illegal aliens are transformed into more homogeneous members of society through truly awful makeovers) almost hits the bull’s-eye.
Leguizamo is not a chameleon like Jim Carrey, but his ability to transform into his characters is among his strengths; his Latina showgirl is probably the most credible drag female since Flip Wilson’s Geraldine.
Supporting cast members Luis Guzman and Jorge Luis Abreu are particular standouts, while director John Fortenberry clearly, and wisely, takes his cues from Leguizamo and keeps the pace brisk by picking the shots that underscore the laughs.
But writers Leguizamo and David Bar Katz sear the short-attention-span sketches with too many bad jokes and banal behaviors that are likely to leave viewers unfulfilled.