Hall, Gottfried give their All for SADD
RICH HALL and
Presented by the MIT Lecture Series
as part of the Pontiac All-Star Comedy
Tuesday, Sep. 25.
By BILL JACKSON
COMEDIANS RICH HALL and Gilbert Gottfried appeared last Tuesday on campus on a double bill as part of the Pontiac All-Star Comedy Caravan. The event was brought to campus by the Lecture Series Committee as a benefit for Students Against Driving Drunk.
Rich Hall, known for his stints on Not Necessarily the News and Saturday Night Live, opened the show. His conversational style worked well with the medium-sized crowd. Hall's comedy consists of a unique and wry series of comments about society and life.
The stage was empty except for a box of "All" detergent on a stool. Hall wandered the stage making funny observations about life, punctuating the statements with a wave to the detergent box and the statement "and that's All."
This began Hall's best routine, in which he asked a man in the front row if he "wanted it All." If the man wanted it All, he would have to deal with the Tide, a box of which Hall thoughtfully provided. And if he wanted it All, he would have to be willing to take a (bottle of) Wisk. The routine continued in this way for several minutes, resulting in a pile of brand-name boxes on the stage and the funniest routine of the evening.
Hall's targets also included a census routine, in which he said that "37 percent of the people did not fill out their census form." If we know how many people didn't send in their forms, he reasoned, then "somebody must've known the population in the first place!"
His imitation of REM provided some humorous moments. Initially, LSC miscued his backing tape, causing the audience to break out in a hearty "LSC sucks!" Upon hearing this, Hall observed that "this must be an entire school of former audio/visual aides."
When he finally performed his imitation of "REM ordering breakfast at Denny's at 3 am" (to the tune of "End of the World as We Know It") it was another high point of an extremely funny routine. Rich Hall left the MIT audience wanting more.
The second act was Gilbert Gottfried. Gottfried's humor is much more surreal, including descriptions of his "meetings" with famous people both dead and alive. He often starts routines with what appear to be throwaway one-liners, then branches off the one-liner into his own private world.
A Gottfried routine is hard to describe (although if you stop into The Tech sometime, I'll do a pretty good live imitation for you). Still, I'll give it a try.
He began the show by telling the crowd that they were "dynamite." Dynamite, he observed, is a dangerous substance that can "blow your fingers off. Leave you like a black stump." Not as dangerous, he observed, as an ice pick "shoved into your ear, and twisted around. You're an ice-pick-in-the-ear kind of crowd." Maybe not, he decided, but it ultimately turned out that we were a "crowbar stuck into your eye with a bunch of midgets jumping up and down on the end." Don't ask.
He described a run-in with Herman Melville, where he tells the famous author that his new book "needs a whale." A great line, but Gottfried then took the idea and ran it into the ground. "You mean," said Gottfried/Melville, "that this giant white whale tried to eat this little tiny person and just nipped off his leg?" And on, and on, and on.
As you can see, Gottfried's humor is not for everyone. His explanation of how Kurt Waldheim was photographed saluting Hitler is a prime example. According to Gottfried, Waldheim was just standing in front of a building in Germany when, lo and behold, Adolf Hitler walked by. Waldheim put up his hand (in a Nazi salute) to stop the photographer from shooting the picture. "No! Don't take the picture!"
A few people left during Gottfried's performance, but for the most part the crowd was reasonably amused by his performance. He is a unique comedian with a specialized legion of fans.