November 13, 2019

Theater Review: Not All Cops Are Bad

 

George McAuliffe’s darkly satiric one-man show, Not All Cops Are Bad, pulls no punches.

PHOTO COURTESY OF IO WEST THEATER

Theater Review: <i>Not All Cops Are Bad</i>

George McAuliffe stars in Not All Cops are Bad at the iO West Theater in Hollywood.

A black, spartan stage equipped with a table holding a Double Gulp of Dr. Pepper isn’t the most ideal source for combustible ammunition. However, the box on the right that is literally labeled “dark secrets” is the perfect match.

Set at the Carlisle YMCA as part of the “Human Behind the Uniform” series, Scott Baker is ordered to address victims of police brutality in a PR event that also serves as his “sensitivity training.”

Instead of having a relatable and rational discussion about police brutality, race and the white male paradigm, George McAuliffe uses a scorched-earth policy to great effect in his one-man show, Not All Cops Are Bad, currently playing at the iO West Theater in Hollywood (ioimprov.com/west).

The way McAuliffe fights fire with fire makes the show highly evocative. Clip after clip after clip of law enforcement gaffes leaves no rebuttal to be made. Rather than rest on laurels, McAuliffe builds an intensely flawed and human character as Baker who is equal parts William Foster from Falling Down (a 1993 neo-noir psychological crime thriller film starring Michael Douglas) and heartland good-ole boy.

The audience may not be Baker themselves, but they know one. The promise for the night is getting to know one another. And we do.

In a two- pronged commentary, the performer dissects the deadly combination of American privilege, impulse and, sadly, the need for us as a society to have “40-year old men getting off on beating 20-year old men down, both figuratively and literally.

McAuliffe closes with a study of male aggression when Baker decides to share his dark secret—a .01-percent moment that only the media catches all the time.

Set to Godsmack’s “Voodoo,” the officer breaks down how adrenaline, caffeine and a less-than-satisfying home life can send someone into overdrive. While the power of wearing a badge and carrying a gun can make someone feel invincible, at the end of the day the fight not to be an average man is overwhelming.

Socially biting and black-hole funny, McAuliffe brings you in close and Baker doesn’t flinch.