Review for Norfolk, VA

Performed on October 26, 2009 | Ted Constant Convocation Center

Robin Williams cracks up Norfolk audience

Originally published on October 27, 2009 | | written by Mal Vincent

"Thanks for making it through two tunnels, or more," Robin Williams told a sold-out crowd, estimated by promoters at 5,500, Monday in Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk.

"Your light rail system? Seven miles of it? $228 million? Hmmmm. Good luck on that. You might as well throw the money in the pot holes," he ad-libbed.

Irrepressible, irreverent, unpredictable and still, at age 58 and after open heart surgery this year, everybody's naughty boy, Robin Williams took on such local subjects as the light rail system, tunnels, tattoos, smoking, Mount Trashmore and rich folks from Virginia Beach. This all came amidst gales of laughter, and along with his analysis of male and female anatomical design.

He describes himself as a "hairy comedian from California," but he also is an Academy Award winner (best supporting actor for "Good Will Hunting," 1997) and was nominated three other times as best actor--for "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987), "Dead Poets Society" (1989) and "The Fisher King" (1991). One suspects there's method to his madness, but he never lets it show.

"My people," he proclaimed to rowdy folks in the back. He used "Y'all" a lot in the opening, but never quite broke into the healing–evangelist routine he's done for me several times during interviews. (Give him a Southern accent and he can't resist.)

"No smoking in Virginia?" he pondered. "That's like no beer in Milwaukee." Adding, "I'm glad you finally got football here."

"No wonder Rio got the Olympics. Brazil sent 50 strippers with a Latin beat. We sent Michelle and Oprah. The results aren't surprising. But does anyone think it's safer in Rio than it is in Chicago?"

"Recycling? You see someone shoveling trash out at Mouth Trashmore and he's not recycling. He's just building more of the park."

On the health care debate: "The Congressmen, like NASCAR drivers, should be made to wear jackets identifying their sponsors."

Hydrogen-powered cars? "I have just one word for the people who get in them--Hindenburg."

"I can't believe you couldn't get a tattoo in Norfolk up until two years ago! Isn't this a Navy town?"

He seemed to delight in picking out well-scrubbed members of the audience and commenting, "You're from Virginia Beach, aren't you." He suggested: "All the rich families in Virginia Beach should have to send one child to work as a maid at Ocean View."

His anatomy lessons are unprintable here--as is much of his vocabulary. You'd never know that he grew up in a rich family (Daddy was a senior executive with Lincoln-Mercury), was in the very first acting class at the revered Juilliard School in New York and is an Episcopalian, which he describes as "same Catholic rituals--half the guilt." Tutored in classical acting by John Houseman, he survived, which is saying enough for any actor. Mork of "Mork & Mindy" made him a star and he hasn't looked back.

The present tour takes on dramatic undertones because it was interrupted in March when he was hospitalized due to heart problems. He underwent surgery to replace his aortic valve and the surgery was successfully completed on March 13. He has returned to the road to complete his 35-city tour. (According to him, he got a bovine valve rather than a pig valve and he prefers it because, well... we can't print it here).

If the Constant Center brings him back, it needs to add seat belts to keep people from falling out from laughing so hard. There's no stopping him.

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