Review for Columbus, OH

Performed on October 5, 2008 | Palace Theatre

>Rapid-fire riffs fuel peals of laughter

Originally published on October 6, 2008 | Columbus Dispatch | written by Gary Budzak

One way to break America's dependence on foreign oil would be to capture the laughter generated from Robin Williams' stand-up comedy shows. The laughs-per-minute from his show last night in the Palace Theatre probably were enough to power Downtown for a week.

Williams made a crack about the city right off. When he came out to a standing ovation, he said: "It's good to see people, after walking Downtown."

Next, he did some Buckeyes jokes: "That's better than calling them the Walnuts," and "You'd have to be a fast ... to have a name like Beanie."

One of Ohio's pro football teams was not spared: "The Browns are back in Cleveland--kind of. One way to make them stay is todraw a goal line around the stadium--they'll never cross it."

Williams, 57, started his 90-minute set with plenty of witty takes on current events. Of Sarah Palin, he said: "Where did they find her, some political reality show? Project Running Mate."

He described the presidential debate as "the Fresh Prince vs. Fred Mertz. At least they talked in complete sentences."

From there, Williams did bits on technology, the Olympics and Intelligent Design. The latter included an extended riff on human genitalia: "We've got a waste processing plant next to a recreation area."

In a nod to his personal demons, Williams said: "When I was younger, I was told drugs will kill you. Now, my doctor says 'You have to have drugs to live.' My doctor is my dealer."

Dressed in black and wearing tennis shoes, Williams was a wild man on stage. He would barely sip water or soda before launching into a joke, unwilling to let the audience stop laughing. Two huge video screens let everyone catch his facial expressions and antics, including doing things with a water bottle that we can't describe. In addition, his raunchy language would be enough to make Patch Adams blush. Despite it all, Williams was a riot.

Unlike his 2002 show here, Williams did not overstay his welcome, doing only a brief encore. He left admonishing us to vote, saying that whoever is elected will need a shovel to dig us out of our current mess.

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