Review for East Lansing, MI

Performed on October 29, 2009 | Performing Arts Center

Robin Williams @ MSU Auditorium, Oct. 29

Originally published on October 30, 2009 | Lansing City Pulse | written by David Winkelstern

You could say the pauses between laughs during Robin Williams' performance Thursday night were lengthy, but only if you also consider the rests between the rapid heartbeats of a hummingbird as lengthy.

The comedian offered a nearly full MSU Auditorium close to 100 incessant minutes of reasons to laugh and keep laughing.

His quicker-than-a-spraying-machine-gun joke delivery began with a knock on MSU's football team: "You either need to practice more, or shorten the game by two minutes." From the start, the mostly middle-aged crowd roared with approval, as Williams poked fun at Michigan figures, like Governor Granholm, Ted Nugent and the Detroit Lions. He even poked at local fixtures, from the upscale Whitehills to Omar's strip club.

Williams' familiarity with the audience was proof of his professionalism and efforts to please. And please he did, delivering joke after joke, until the crowd was convulsing with constant chuckles, chortles and cackles.

Looking fit in a black dress shirt, black pants and soft shoes and equipped with a wireless, clip-on mic, the 58-year old moved briskly about the stage in front of a large, live video screen.

Much of Williams' quick-witted comedy could be construed as crude, but the profanity just added to the man's likeable insanity.

With a sense of intelligence, Williams regularly joked about oral sex, his substance abuse issues, oral sex, his past movie roles, oral sex, his heart surgery, oral sex, drugs and fellatio.

When he made fun of other celebrities, like Nick Nolte, Jack Nicholson and even Walter Cronkite, the impact was heightened, because it was clear he knew them personally.

An obviously more liberal Williams also had the skill to make insults about noxious conservatives in an innocuous manner that made most everyone in the auditorium giggle.

He made flatulence jokes seem classy and genitalia references seem like sophisticated humor. By the end of the show, the only significant complaints warranted might have been from bruised bellies, ribs and slapped knees after so much laughing.

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