Caveman Cody on speedskating, smelting and a baby named Chewbaca

Cody Lyman in 'Defending the Caveman.' Photo by Michael Brosilow
Cody Lyman in ‘Defending the Caveman.’ Photo by Michael Brosilow

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is our DCPA NewsCenter interview with Cody Lyman from 2015. The ticket information at the bottom of this article has been updated to apply to the current engagement of ‘Defending the Caveman’ running at the Garner-Galleria Theatre through Aug. 28.

Durango native Cody Lyman is happy to be back in his native state performing Defending the Caveman, which will soon enter its fourth month at the Garner-Galleria Theatre. It’s writer/comedian Rob Becker’s theatrical conversation between a modern-day Caveman (read: your average husband) and his audience about the ways men and women relate.

The show dates back to prehistoric times – 1991, to be exact. It first opened in San Francisco and went on to become the longest continuously running one-man show in Broadway history, and the longest-running one-man show in Las Vegas. It has been performed in 45 countries and translated into 19 different languages. (Bet you’d never guess the first one after English was Icelandic. Really.)

Cody Lyman quote“I jumped on board in 2004,” said Lyman, a graduate of Colorado State University and the child of two Olympic speedskaters. (He’s not even making that up. More on that below.)

“I’m closing in on 12 years of performing this show all across the country. I’d be hard-pressed to count the number of performances I’ve done. But I’m guessing it would have a few zeros in it. I can say that I’ve filed taxes in 36 different states.” 

It’s still lots of fun for Lyman, even though he says it shouldn’t be. “That’s a long time to be doing the same show,” he said. But audiences love it wherever it goes.

“I was drawn to theatre because I think it’s important,” he said. I truly believe that art can have an vital impact on humanity. This show does that. It’s simple and funny and profound. It’s a show about how we love each other. And that message, of course, is delivered in a hilarious way. It’s a privilege to be a part of that.”

Defending the Caveman tickets are currently on-sale through Aug. 23. Here are more excerpts from Caveman Cody’s conversation with DCPA Senior Arts Journalist John Moore:

John Moore: Let’s start with a current events news-and-views quiz.

News: A 22-year-old man celebrating the Fourth of July was killed instantly when he tried to launch fireworks from atop his head.

Views: _______________
The Caveman: I was a knucklehead when I was 22. That could have been me. That could have been a lot of the knuckleheads I ran around with. Although it happened in Maine. I’ve never performed in Maine … so there’s that.

John Moore: Is it true that Cavemen enjoy Twizzlers, discount furniture and most things Dutch? And if so … so, please elaborate.

The Caveman: Man, I put that in my bio a hundred years ago for some reason, and I really should get around to editing it! I do like Twizzlers, IKEA and the Dutch. I was raised by speedskaters. My dad (Greg Lyman) was in the Sapporo Olympics in 1972, and my mom (Pat Sheehan) held a world-record in short-track. The Dutch always produce amazing speedskaters. I fell in love with Amsterdam on a visit abroad with my brother and sister. When we were living in Chicago, I would often accompany my (now) wife on trips to IKEA. It was a day-long event with multiple trains. She would go to shop and get ideas. I’d go for the meatballs and to spend time with her.

John Moore: And how is married life?

Cody Lyman and his now wife photographed on opening night of the 2013 'Defending the Caveman' run in Denver. Photo by John Moore.The Caveman: I like being married. My wife and I have been together for 18 years, although we have only been married for almost two. Things changed when we tied the knot. Not good or bad just … different. There are some things in the show that jump out at me more now. Like listening. I’m not that great at listening. I have to stop what I’m doing, re-focus my energy, and plug in. My wife will usually give me the time I need to do that before doling out the important information. We’re expecting our first child in November, which is consuming all of our attention right now. No, we don’t know if will be a boy or a girl. No, we’re not going to find out in advance. Either way, I’m lobbying for the name “Chewbaca.”

(Photo: Cody Lyman and his now wife photographed on opening night of the 2013 ‘Defending the Caveman’ run in Denver. Photo by John Moore.)

John Moore: Say, you went to the same high school as our new Bobby G Awards winners honoring the best in Colorado high-school theatre. So what is up with Durango High School?
The Caveman: It’s simple, really. Durango exists, largely, because it was a hub for smelting (the process of extracting metals from rock using heat and various chemicals) in the 1880s. The early smelters eventually fell into dis-use, but smelting was revitalized by the federal government during World War II to process vanadium to make steel. The other product that was being dug from our hills and processed was uranium. Smelter Mountain (where most of this occurred) sits on the south side of downtown, and while the smelters had used up their usefulness by the 1950s, the project wasn’t properly cleaned and capped until the 1990s. So, in short: We’ve been drinking radioactive water and producing SUPERACTORS.

What relationship advice do you have for troubled celebrity couple Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick?
The Caveman: I’m rather proud that I had to Google this. However, after Googling this … I have a headache. I don’t think I’d offer any relationship advice to these two. Who am I to blow against the wind?  I’ll let Kanye handle this one.

John Moore: So wait a minute: Why does The Caveman even need defending? After all … he’s a Caveman!

The Caveman: It’s his image that needs defending. In “everyday” context, The Caveman is depicted as a gut-driven, forehead-enhanced lunk: “Me want, me take.” There’s the popular image of The Caveman clunking the woman of his choice over the head with his club and dragging her back to his cave. While it’s true that our ancient ancestors were (by necessity) more instinctual than we are today, archaeologists’ findings over the past few decades seem to point to a primitive man who was able to look beyond his next meal and contemplate the universe. What prompted this creature to record his culture’s myths and stories onto cave walls?  

The Caveman recorded the things that he did not understand, but was in awe of: The Hunt. Sacred animals. The passage of time. And, perhaps most important: The goddess. The Caveman, simply put, was not master of The Cavewoman, but rather, The Caveman worshipped women.

“Well!” you might say!, all that’s well and good. But what of it?”

Generally speaking, if a woman does something that a man doesn’t understand … men are OK with that. We tend to think that women are mysterious. On the other hand, when a man does something that a woman doesn’t understand, they tend to just think that we’re wrong.  We’re not wrong (necessarily) – we’re just different. And, we’ve evolved with these differences since prehistoric times!

John Moore: Clearly this is still fun for you.

The Caveman: I’ve had plenty of opportunity through the years to work on other projects, so I rarely feel creatively stifled. But whenever I return to The Cave, it’s like putting on a favorite sweatshirt. It’s comfy – and smelly – in all the right places.

John Moore: And why Defending the Caveman still fun for the audience?

Things change and we evolve, but men and women are still fundamentally different.  Couples come to this show seeking laughs at one another’s expense, and end up leaving arm-in-arm. It’s fun for the audience because it’s so relatable. I’ve been all around the nation with this show for more than a decade, and everyone relates. It’s not my story up there on stage. It’s our story. 

Defending the Caveman
When: Through Aug. 28, 2016
Where: At the Galleria Theatre, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 14th and Curtis streets,
Written by: Rob Becker
Performed by: Cody Lyman
Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE

To learn more, go to the show’s official web page

More, more Lyman: Here’s our 2013 interview with Cody Lyman

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *