TO NOV. 2

No one in this section of our hemisphere would dare deny that this is a material world. But sometimes the comedian’s job is to point out the bloody obvious, and this is exactly what Bob Somerby does, to devastating effect, in his brutally hysterical show Bob Somerby’s Material World. In an Advertising Age in which “viral marketing” has turned the basic human desire for companionship into yet another merchandising opportunity, Somerby dares point out that the emperor’s brand-name wardrobe is a moth-eaten chimera. Organized around Somerby’s own history, Material World utilizes family snapshots, old commercials, and props from supermarket shelves to convincingly outline America’s journey from the complacent ’50s to the thoroughly trademarked 21st century. From his box o’ tricks, Somerby pulls such unquestioned products as maxi-priced, mini-scaled, swoosh-logo’d “athletic” baby shoes marketed for beings who cannot walk. And he poses the question: What kind of society needs a dozen box-size choices for the same kind of cereal? When not crying out in the darkness, Somerby also fights the good fight against the highly opinionated, factually challenged punditocracy on his Web site, the Daily Howler. There, he posts regular dispatches of exactly how the media (which are largely supported by commercials and advertisements…hmmm) continue to get it wrong. Will the circle be unbroken? Somerby tilts at co-branded windmills at 8 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays and at 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 2, to Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Old Town Theater, 815 1/2 King St., Alexandria. $15-$17. (703) 535-8107. (Dave Nuttycombe)