Robin WilliamsVerizon Arena, Oct. 10
He sweated a lot, but so would you if you chattered deliriously for more than 90 minutes in front of nearly 4,000. Otherwise, Robin Williams looked no worse for the wear seven months after open-heart surgery. In fact, if his unrelenting barrage of spastic free associations, impressions and sex jokes left anyone exhausted, it was this reviewer. Laughing hurts after a while.
But, of course, restraint has never really been Robin William’s thing. He joked, at one point, that he’d gone to rehab in wine country “to keep his options open” and compared using Viagra after open-heart surgery to “a Civil War reenactment with loaded weapons.”
Those sort of juxtaposed one-liners came out more than you might expect amidst otherwise staccato riffing. The best were topical, if sometimes dated. A Prius, he imagined in an Arkansas redneck voice, “looks like a Volkswagen fucked a golf car.” Another car joke: “Arnold Schwarzenegger is a liberal Republican. It’s like a Volvo with a gun rack.” The idea of a George W. Bush Presidential Library sounds about as reasonable as a Col. Saunders culinary event, he said after making the same, tired Clinton-Library-as-mobile-home joke. Later, he admitted that Bush is like a “self-opening piñata” for a comedian, before cracking that “it’s bad when the smart brother is named Jeb.”
Like most of his peers, Williams works off a base of material, though even if you’d already heard a joke (almost everything from a recent “Jimmy Kimmel” made it on the stage show), it’d been tweaked or expanded or put into new context. But regardless of what sort of circuitous route he took — from riffing on the un-intimidating names of hurricanes to calling the Hogs (“Why do I feel like Ned Beatty?” he asked in a nod to “Deliverance”) — everything led back to the asshole.
You’ve never heard a more rectally obsessed comedian. Lucky for you, this is a family newspaper, and we draw the line with printing jokes involving loose bowels and pinky fingers. But in nearly sold-out Verizon Arena on Saturday (the arena was in its theater configuration), no one seemed to blanch at anything, regardless of the level of raunch. In fact, Williams seemed to get his biggest laughs in an extended bit, where he re-imagined the development of male and female genatalia in pre-history (“And then Stu had a great idea — curtains!”).
Fittingly, the 58-year-old comedian closed out the night with a brief encore, where he did a spot-on impression “his old friend” Walter Cronkite telling a dirty joke. Everyone howled.