Don Reed rants in new ‘DMV’ show 

click to enlarge Actor-comedian Don Reed plays multiple characters in  “Stereotypo: Rants and Ramblings at the DMV at The Marsh. - COURTESY BRITTANY KAMERSCHEN
  • COURTESY BRITTANY KAMERSCHEN
  • Actor-comedian Don Reed plays multiple characters in “Stereotypo: Rants and Ramblings at the DMV at The Marsh.
When solo performer Don Reed decided to embark on a show about diversity, and how people get along, he found there was only one place to set it: The Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Every possible human being is forced to stand in that line,” he says, describing one of the origins of “Stereotypo: “Rants and Ramblings at the DMV,” which opens at The Marsh in The City this week.

Ideas for the funny piece, whose aim is to expose and dispel stereotypes (and cover a “good cross-section of the planet”) have been bouncing around in his head since the 1990s, but he didn’t actually write them down until a few weeks before he hit the stage to rehearse.

Unlike his previous one-man shows which detailed his wild family life in East Oakand as a teen and college years in Los Angeles trying to break into show business, “Stereotypo” is fiction, although its nine characters are based on people he knows.

He calls the format “freeing,” in that the events in the show needn’t have actually happened.

A black guy, a blind Latino man, an old Jewish fellow, a mentally challenged woman, a white businessman, a transgender woman, a Pakistani cab driver and a disabled artist (a man with no arms) are among those he plays in “Stereotypo.”

Mondi, based on the driver of a two-hour ride Reed took from the airport in Philadelphia to a gig, was the first to come to him. “It was confessions of a taxi driver in reverse,” says Reed, who says the foul-mouthed character also provided a guide for him “in terms of the edginess of the humor.”

If “Stereotypo” is blessed with a long life, Reed looks forward to adding characters he had to leave out – an older Asian man, a guy who stammers, a challenged genius – in its initial incarnation.

For the time being, he’s pleased with comments from audiences who have seen previews. He says he and one fan of Middle Eastern descent both started to cry when the man told him: “You’re giving voice to the voiceless.”

IF YOU GO

Stereotypo: Rants and Ramblings at the DMV

Where: The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Fridays, 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, through April 25

Tickets: $20 to $100

Contact: (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org

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Leslie Katz

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