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Rickles’ Saban Theater Part Two

February 1, 2016

RICKLES: Part Two (see part one below and part three above) Saban Theater January 30 in LA.)

But what everyone wanted was to see him go into the crowd and insult people. His delivery was dead-on, so was his timing, and he even got a huge laugh when he pointed to the front row and said, “How did you guys get in the front row, I want you people to come down from the balcony and hit them.” (Which drew balcony cheers and applause from the front row.).

When he was doing the slams, his still maintained the energy each line required, and there was no doubt in my mind, that if he could have walked, he would have done more slamming and been able to pull it off. Granted at an 89-year old man pace.

I guess one of my favorite moments was when he said, “I have a wife, two kids, some grand children, and as child in the Phillipines…(Laugh. Then the tag)…The truck was parked for a half hour.” There were other times he insulted his sidekick and nearby piano player. The pianist tinkled some keys, which prompted Rickles to say, “That’s Count Basie. The pianist does a couple cords from “One O’ Clock Jump,” and Rickels pauses and says, “Was that worth losing your job.” Then later says about him, He’s been with me 25 years, and this is his last day.” Another time, Rickles asked for a glass of water, sipped it, and the pianist walked away leaving Rickles with the glass, and Rickles stuck out his arm and said, “You going to take this or do I have to do magic.”

One thing I noticed, and it’s only because I’m a comedian, and very, very familiar with his work, as well as having a sharpened eye assessing performance. His piano player, was also serving as a type of caregiver. He was intently watching each of Rickles physical moves, and I thought he was whispering to Rickles throughout the performance to prevent him from losing track of what he was saying, or repeating himself. And my guess is, at 89 he really couldn’t see the people he was slamming farther back, and was being told, “Big black guy dead center…husband and wife to the left…guy with a hat..fourth row right…Asian guy..” So he could just do his usual schtick. Fine!

But then, in the midst of an occasional stammer, a a croaking voice (which didn;lt happen too often) Rickles would verbally explode into high volume, and rapidly and energetically do his standard approaches asking a couple how long they have been married, then saying, “That the wife? Very attractive.” The rolls his eyes to convey she’s nothing like that.And adds, “The guy must have cataracts.” Then talking about his wife, who wears so much jewelry she sinks as she swim in the pool, uses her diamond ring to signal ships, wears so much jewelry he heads hits the table when she sits down.

And yes, the usual follow-up asides t after slamming someone after slamming someone in the crowd, “Is he laughing. Is he coming after me.” Or after insulting a black guy, making thew sound of a blowgun, and acting like he was hit in the neck with a dart. Looking at an Asian guy, “I was looking for your uncle in the jungles years ago.”

Several times his patter was filled with how “we’re all the same, race, creed…wish you good health…been married for over fifty years…bless you…I wish you nothing but happiness and good health

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