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VIDEO: Actor-Writer Robert Wuhl at WaterTower Theatre

by Jerome Weeks 11 Mar 2011 1:48 PM

Funnyman Robert Wuhl – Emmy-winning comedy writer, star of HBO’s ‘Arli$$’ – created a stand-up routine and college lecture on American myths and myth-making for HBO called ‘Assume the Position.’ Now it’s a stage show he’s doing at the Out of the Loop Festival. Art&Seek on Think TV talks to Professor Wuhl about rich dumb kids, Longfellow as popular culture and Wikipedia as a research resource.


Comic actor and Emmy-winning writer Robert Wuhl is best known as the star of the HBO series, Arli$$. But in 2006 for an HBO special, he created and starred in a combination stand-up monologue, college lecture and PowerPoint demo called Assume the Position. In it, he cast a merrily jaundiced eye on “the stories that made America,” and “the stories that America made up” — meaning, in several cases, the kind of doubtful histories or political hackjob biographies that 19th century American writers such as Washington Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne turned out. History is storytelling, Wuhl argues, but these inaccurate stories became so popular they entered our general culture never to be entirely removed: Columbus proving the world is round, for example, or the heroic ride of Paul Revere, which wasn’t nearly as heroic as the one by Israel Bissell (a name that doesn’t exactly ring through the halls of history: “He sounds like a Jewish vaccuum cleaner” — Wuhl).

There was a sequel (Assume the Position 201), and now Wuhl has taken his irreverent treatment of American myths and myth-making to the stage, expanding it with autobiographical material. Assume the Position plays this weekend at the Out of the Loop Festival at the WaterTower Theatre in Addison.