Picks and Pans Review: Wild and Crazy Guy
Classic comedy albums should play as successfully in the living room as onstage (as did Brooks and Reiner’s 2,000 Year Old Man and Woody Allen’s The Night Club Years). This one doesn’t. For sure, Martin is wild and crazy at his best; but his shtik, while it is visually arresting and often hilarious, has become repetitive and limiting. Much of this material just isn’t funny to someone who can’t see the arrow through the head. His worshipers (the LP was recorded live) cheer, whistle and roar at almost anything, and this adds excitement. But why do they laugh when he uses a line like “I just went to the Bahamas for a second” to explain a nervous pause? And why does the crowd howl with a gonzo-hip “whoooooaaaa” when he says the Mona Lisa “was painted with just one stroke”? The only consistently funny persona Martin develops—the grinning Balkan swinger of Saturday Night Live—brightens the LP in a too-brief bit. Excuuuse us; but you just have to be there.