...busting up my brains for the words

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Harland Williams at Knucklehead's

Do you like stand-up comedy? I do.

Good stand-up comedy is deceptively difficult to do well. The good ones make it look easy. (Kind of like blogging, in that sense.)

I don't think Harland Williams is a household name yet. But just about everyone has seen his face. "Oh! That guy!"

I first became aware of Harland Williams a few years ago. There was a late nite tv show here in the Twin Cities that was broadcast at 1 o'clock Monday morning. Who's watching tv at 1 o'clock in the morning on a Monday? Thank heaven for the VCR. I went to bed at 11 pm and my VCR recorded whatever comedy was on this show. I suppose it was called Comedy Tonight or some such thing. Most of the tapes would be from the Improv in Los Angeles.
Anyways, one Monday evening after I got home from work, I hit the Rewind function on my machine, hit Play and popped a cold one. There, was a tape of this goofy looking guy. The show was recorded in San Francisco and I couldn't make out his name. But it was one of funniest stand-up shows I have ever seen.
It becomes pretty obvious in very short time that Williams relies on improvisation quite a bit. He's interested in taking whatever hairball coughs up at the moment and flying with it. And he's quite good at this. I was amazed at how, just through the brief introductions to some of my fellow audience members, Williams was able to make all sorts of hilarious connections that made me wonder if everybody but me was on the take.

I can't go into too much detail in recounting Williams' material. After all, my mother has the URL for this blog. And it gets pretty dicey. Comedy is a delicate thing. If I rattled off a joke that I'd thought was funny right here, right now in writing, the humor might not carry over. Williams is terrific at presenting his schtick. I love his arcane, wacky, self-important presentation that is just simply a direct line to insanity.

Okay. I can sense that there are those out there who need a taste;

WILLIAMS: I love to cook I love to cook, friends. The other day I came up with a great recipe. I'd love you all to try it. It's real simple. I hope you'll try it, friends.
Go over to your local grocery store. Pick yourself up some cow tongue, some bacon and some lovely, lovely freshly cut flank steak.
It's my own recipe, friends. I call it "Lick My Greasy Ass!"

Yeah, Harland Williams has a wild sense of humor. If you're afraid of the F-word you don't wanna go there.
His presence is great, too. He has a rockabilly kinda demeanor. Just looking at Harland, you know you're in for some crazy-time. I couldn't believe my table was so close to the stage. This guy rocks.
He's got a thing for Warner Brothers Roadrunner cartoons. He warned us of the dangers of coyotes. They're wiley! You never know when they're gonna turn a giant magnet loose on ya and grab you by the nose-ring.
One of my fears going into this show was over politics. What if Harland Williams is a Lefty and he goes political against Bush? That would ruin the experience for me.
He did no such thing. Oh, sure, he'd made some jokes about The Qwadas out to get us. LOL. We all got a charge out of that. Harland Williams is sooooo ignant.

I laughed so hard I couldn't see. That's good medicine in this stressed out, polarized world. And with something like four shows all sold out at Knucklehead's, I suspect that Harland Williams is on his way toward becoming a household name.

See him if you can.


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