Think Zach Braff is funny on camera? The “Scrubs” star — who wrote the 2004 indie hit “Garden State” —has now turned to playwriting, and his “All New People” at Second Stage is hilarious. Well-paced and solidly structured, it’s full of one-liners that don’t seem like one-liners because they’re so organically connected to the play’s over-the-top characters. “People” is also self-aware, cleverly using background video projections to poke fun at its own artifice.
In the middle of winter, Charlie (Justin Bartha) is in a tony Jersey Shore beach house, standing on a chair with an extension cord around his neck. Enter Emma (Krysten Ritter), a British real estate agent awaiting the arrival of prospective summer renters. After “saving” Charlie, she summons her friend Myron (David Wilson Barnes), the local fire chief, whose love for her is not reciprocated. He’s followed by Kim (Anna Camp), an expensive escort, sent by Charlie’s friend and house-owner Kevin to cheer him up.
No disrespect to the guys, but the women get most of the laughs. As chatty Emma, Ritter is agreeably flaky, and Camp’s knockout Kim is a complete airhead who knows how to get what she wants. Both consistently hit the mark, delivering outrageous observations with casual innocence.
In a sea of drugs and liquor, self-disclosure rules, but the biggest revelation — about Emma — almost seems like a throwaway. This doesn’t lessen the play’s humor or its great final line, but it does deprive it of a little extra punch.