The Theater: Programming Pavlov's Pups

Certain shows incite conditioned-reflex laughter. A quip rings a bell on stage, or a performer twitches a facial muscle, and the audience laughs, in much the same way that Pavlov's dogs salivated. The playgoer has been given nothing in the way of genuine comic nourishment. He has merely been cajoled into an empty-bellied laugh.

That's the way it is with Four on a Garden. All comedy is human comedy. One must be able to sympathize, recognize or identify with the person or the situation behind the gag. That was true in Cactus Flower, where...

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