Picks and Pans Review: Reality...what a Concept
If nothing else, this LP of live nightclub routines proves that Robin Williams is like a butterfly in harness on a network sitcom. For while he is a delight as Mork, TV inevitably constrains his dizzyingly bountiful imagination. It’s no loss that he doesn’t do Mork here. (He says he works clubs to escape the show.) There is a send-up of PBS’ Mr. Rogers (“Oh look, Mr. Postman’s here. Let’s see what he brought for me today. It’s my package from Frederick’s”). He improvises a Shakespearean soliloquy on Three Mile Island (“Aye, the plant doth glow in the night like a huge acne zit”). He digresses into his own mind (“Mayday, mayday, mayday. [They’re] not buying the bullshit. Career over”). It’s done in an amazing range of voices and styles; he even stays in character when squelching hecklers who plagued him at New York’s Copacabana and San Francisco’s The Boarding House. Comedy LPs are frustrating—Williams’ “Death of a Sperm Ballet” is obviously a visual bit and he takes easy laughs by imitating a drunk or just mentioning the word “drugs.” That doesn’t prevent his stand-up stuff from being as good as the best of Hope, Bruce, Cosby, Carlin or Pryor.