Review for Little Rock, AR

Performed on October 9, 2009 | Verizon Arena

Robin Williams shows he's worth the wait

Originally published on October 10, 2009 | Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Weekend | written by Jennifer Christman

Robin Williams' March open heart surgery caused him to reschedule his Weapons of Self Destruction tour stop in Arkansas, originally set for April.

But in no way has it slowed the 58-year-old comedian. He immediately instructed Friday night's crowd (sold-out by intimate "theater" setup standards with about 4,100 in attendance) "Now sit the f*** down" before launching into more than 90 minutes of frenetic rapid-fire patter, peppered with impersonations ranging from animals, to Michael Jackson, to Dick Cheney as Lord of The Rings' Gollum (substitute "Halliburton" for "precious").

Williams, who said he was present for the Clinton Presidential Center ("Love that new big trailer at the end of town!") opening five years ago, proved he knew a few things about Arkansas, which he said was an old Indian word meaning "Wal-Mart." He informed the crowd about the stragglers taking their seats: "These people are coming from the Heights." And he gave a quick "Wooo, Pig! Sooey!" that in turn gave him a Deliverance moment: "Why do I feel like Ned Beatty?"

Projected on two large screens, Williams--dressed in black pants, sneakers and a short-sleeve button-down shirt exposing his thick dark arm hair--paused from his pacing, joking and gesturing only to take quick water swigs. Not that the half-dozen bottles on his table were just for drinking, they were for special effects to illustrate his weather and sex jokes.

He covered everything from former President George W. Bush ("He comes from a family where the smart brother's name is Jeb"), to Sarah Palin ("How did they find her? Project Running Mate?"), to restless leg syndrome (the "tendency to break out into Riverdance?") to alcoholism ("I went to rehab in wine country just to leave my options open"). For his brief encore, Williams paid a unique tribute to Walter Cronkite--an "elegant" man who appreciated dirty jokes--by jesting about incest in the news anchor's voice.

He bantered about technology like Twitter and video recorders, offering advice to anyone who wanted to relive the show later: Do it the "old fashioned" way. Tell someone, "You saw a hairy comedian."

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