"There is something very special about Brochu's Mostel. Not only is the script brilliantly written and hilarious - and it is both - but it is also personal..."A comedic force of nature that knocks people out is a description that could apply to Brochu's acting as well. But when he says he was knocked out by Mostel, he means it literally. Brochu the sophomore had been invited to the play by his mentor David Burns, and searching for Burns backstage he ran into Mostel. Noting Brochu's uniform (he was in military school), Mostel told him, "You must be General Nuisance. What do you want?" When Brochu said he was looking for Burns, Mostel complained that Brochu never came to visit him and stormed off.Jim Brochu as Zero Mostel in Zero Hour at Theater J. Photo by Stan Barouh
Brochu took the hint and visited Mostel backstage on several more occasions. Over time the two became friends. When he first asked Mostel for an autograph, Brochu was told he was unworthy - Mostel's "behavior was as outrageous offstage as it was on," he says - but after Mostel saw Brochu's off-Broadway performance in "Unfair to Goliath", he left an envelope with a signed photograph in Brochu's dressing room.Zero Hour is Brochu's attempt to return the favor, "a tribute to the life of a man who overcame both physical and social obstacles to become one of most enduring giants in the history of the American Theatre."
The essay/review leads, though, with the politics of the piece, which all come from Zero's point of view. Neither Jim nor I are political persons. We are both news junkies, and we lend our talents to benefits, just as Zero did, but we're performers. We love the attention, but don't come to us for answers. We're the clowns.