Consider the many roles actor, comedian and writer Robert Wuhl has performed over his successful career. In Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, in the television series Arli$$, alongside Kevin Costner in Bull Durham and in his one-man special on HBO, Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl, it appears as if the comedy of this former University of Houston student naturally cascades without much restraint.
But that's not how his gray matter works.
If anything, Wuhl is a deep analytical thinker that parses through the elements of drama, much like a musician studies a score, to expose opportunities that could heighten the emotional, communicative prowess of his characters. Whether that means slowing down the delivery of a line, speeding up the exchange between two characters or adding a pause for silence, rhythm, intonation and tempo are critical elements of his comedy.
"I don't know a comic who's worth a shit who's not musical," Wuhl jokes in an interview with CultureMap.
"I don't know a comic who's worth a shit who's not musical."
Wuhl is back in Houston to workshop his new comedy show, Hit-Lit, at University of Houston's School of Dance and Theatre. The production premieres Tuesday and run through Saturday at the Quintero Theatre.
It was during a visit in April to partake in an event with Dennis Quaid, Brett Cullen and Cindy Pickett that honored legendary theater professor Cecil J. Pickett when Wuhl and director Steven Wallace began talking about possibly bringing his material to UH. Less than a year later, Wuhl and Wallace have just about finished coaching students to bring to life Wuhl's satirical text.
Hit-Lit is the screwball, romantic story of mistaken identities that thumbs its nose at media, publishing and writing through an ambitious publisher looking to make it big. When she spots what she interprets as a murder in action, she approaches the perpetrator in hopes of scoring a bestselling memoir only to glean he's a penman with writer's block.
Watch the video above for CultureMap's exclusive interview with Wuhl during which he chats about Hit-Lit, his inspiration and what he finds special about working with students at the University of Houston.