One of the most skilled television writers of all time was Larry Gelbart — he struck the perfect balance between organic dialogue and one-liners, found the humor and ultimate humanity in even the bleakest situations, and helped make M*A*S*H one of the longest-running TV series in history. Gelbart’s final gift to audiences was the play Better Late, a “December-December-December romance” that premiered in 2008, a year before his death at age 81. A wry twist on The Man Who Came to Dinner, the story begins as elderly couple Nora and Lee make room for Nora’s ex-husband, Julian, who’s had a stroke and needs a place to recover. As the trio attempts to make peace with each other and their inevitable mortality, the play contemplates the mysteries and meaning of life with a warm heart and — you guessed it — a raft of punchlines. GroundWorks Theatre’s seasoned cast (Linda Speir, Rodney Pickel, Dave Thoreson and Doug Goodman) are well-prepared to handle the delicate subject with the dignity and big laughs it deserves.