Even open heart surgery doesn't seem to have slowed Robin Williams down.
The 58-year-old comedian stormed through a 90-minute show before a sold-out crowd at the Fox Theatre Friday, guzzling water frequently and pausing for breath seldom.
He had returned to make good on a date he postponed when he had his aortic valve replaced March 13.
"The last time I was here Lake Lanier was empty, Atlanta was on fire and I had a leaky heart. Now Lake Lanier is full, the fires are out and my heart is okay," Williams said.
His delivery was pure machine-gun, and non-stop blue. (The F-bomb was the fifth word out of his mouth--and seemingly every fifth word after that.)
His best unprintable material was probably his extended improvisation on the battle between the heart and the penis when an open-heart-surgery patient takes Viagra.
But among the repeatable bits, some great lines:
"The weather will continue to be moist and unstable. That sounds like a weekend with Lindsay Lohan."
How tornadoes are like divorce in Georgia:
"Someone's going to lose a trailer."
Congressmen in bed with drug companies:
"Make them wear jackets like in NASCAR where they have the names of all their sponsors up there."
Chicago losing the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro:
"C'mon, who thinks Rio is safer than Chicago? They're going to have to make kidnapping and waxing Olympic events."
"She keeps getting thinner and thinner. I think [Arnold Schwarzenegger] is sucking the Kennedy out of her."
Schwarzenegger becoming a Kennedy through absorption:
"That's how you get a liberal Republican."
Robin Williams was amazing on two fronts. Having stopped his tour in March to have open heart surgery, he was still full of energy. He also was very positive about his life and that carried into his act. He walked onto the stage wearing all black, except for his shoes. There were bright orange sneakers. That set the stage for the rest of his act. My sides were hurting after 90 minutes of joke after joke. He didn't tell one-liners, he had a special Robin Williams view on life, government and of course growing older. He had a fair share of adult humor mixed in, so this might be a good time to leave the little ones at home. At least unless you plan to do some further explaining when you get them home.
The Fox Theatre here in Atlanta was totally booked. Many of us had tickets from his cancelled tour that were still being honored and the couple next to us had won their front row seats on a radio program. The stage had a stool (which he never used), a small table--covered with bottles of water. He also had one small coke. He used it more as an Atlanta prop than to drink. He would tell a few jokes, take a drink of water and go back to telling jokes. There were certain jokes that the water became part of the joke, mostly the adult humor part. I won't attempt to retell any of his jokes, that would be impossible. I hope I will have his energy when I am his age, wait, I am his age... too late.
If he is coming to your town, go see him. Get the tickets early. His show was very well received here in Georgia. He also tailored many of his jokes around the south, so this wasn't a canned act.
We had one more treat to our trip. We had meet and greet tickets. After the show ended, we waited until everyone cleared out and we were lead to a small area with food and drink. After we talked a bit about the show, Robin came in and we all got in a line to have our pictures taken. After the pictures, we were herded back into another line to meet him and get an autographed picture.
For those that see other shows at the Fox. We parked across from the theatre at the hotel and ate dinner there also. The restaurant was the Livingston and the food was top quality. The price went along with the quality of food, but if you are with someone special, it will be appreciated. You can also just wait out the time in the bar.
Last Friday, fans flocked to the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta to watch Robin Williams perform, hoping that the comedian would begin where he left off after postponing his Weapons of Self-Destruction tour earlier this year. Williams canceled performances after undergoing an aortic valve replacement in March. While watching the vivacious 57-year-old perform with his characteristic high-energy mania for more than an hour and a half, it was difficult to believe he had endured such an intensive surgery.
As he ran on stage, dressed in all black save for his red sneakers, the audience burst into a standing ovation, a greeting to which Williams responded with a stern but comic, "Sit the f--k down." Though his performances are often explicit, there is a certain class about Williams that makes his vulgarity work.
Many remember Williams' comedic role in "Mrs. Doubtfire," in which he portrays an elderly British nanny. This role was Williams at his comedic best, and at the Fox, this type of free-flowing, non-stop, hysterical humor was precisely what he delivered.
As front-row latecomers continued to arrive after Williams had begun his performance, he incorporated them into his act, poking fun at two women searching for their seat and one gentleman with a handful of drinks. Spotting the cocktails, Robin commented, "We're going to have an interesting front row."
Williams' performance exuded an intimate, personable feel from the very start, with a consistent inclusion of the audience and regional jokes not simply about the South, but about Atlanta specifically.
With a packed venue in front of him and two large screens projecting the act behind him, the San Francisco resident touched on a wide array of subjects, including hybrid cars, his distaste for technology, what it was like to recover from alcoholism, politics, health-care reform, drugs and his recent surgery.
In a segment about technology, Williams performed a series of GPS-related jokes, the most memorable being his mocking of Atlanta's abundance of Peachtree roadways and his suggestion for various talking GPS modules, such as one that ages with the driver.
Often alluding to his bouts as a recovering alcoholic, many of Williams' jokes about alcoholism consisted of curt one-liners ("Being a functional alcoholic is like being a paraplegic lap-dancer. You can't do it.") weaved in among much longer acts.
Williams' performance was full of drug references, including an extended re-enactment of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis and his 1970s pitching of a "no-hitter" while on LSD.
In the spirit of the drug theme, Williams referred to his doctor as his "dealer" and playfully commented on a change of sentiment that went from "Drugs are bad" to his doctors insisting, "Robin, you need drugs to live."
Throughout his action-packed performance, in which the energetic Williams could be likened to a cartoon character on ecstasy, the comedian paused only to take brief swigs from his water bottle. At the end of the show, Williams closed by paying homage to the late Walter Cronkite.
If his Atlanta performance is any indication of the spirit of his 2009 tour, there is indeed something subtly different, something nostalgic even, about this chapter of Williams' stand-up comedy career.
With such a long history in the comedic world, Williams, who is perhaps one of the most talented humorists of our time, is always a treat to watch. His ability to recover from open-heart surgery whilst showing no signs of wear and tear, however, has added somewhat of a mystic quality to his performances. Thanks for the memories, Robin. We're glad to have you back.