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Excellent set from Richard Jeni, and Rick Reynolds delivers a classic

Author: jamminec (jamminec@aol.com) from Boston
12 July 2011

A review of this stand-up comedy showcase from 1988, as it runs frequently on the HBO Comedy channel: The first comic, Haywood Banks, does the type of spastic bizarro nerdy prop comedy that was big (and often-mocked) in the stand-up world of the 80's, and gets old quick; then some pathetic sad sack named Paul Dillery delivers seven long, awkward minutes of agonizing torture. These two open the show by embarrassing themselves and comedy.

And then Rick Reynolds saunters out with the swagger of a man that knows he's about to kill this crowd - and does, beginning with the line "Is it just me, or did those first two guys *suck*?" The crowd "whooooooooaaaaas" in shock, mostly because they know he's right. He then gives us the kind of sophisticated, philosophical, and lightly raunchy act that was unique then, and very rare even now; some of the material he would later use in his one-man show "Only The Truth is Funny", and briefly made him the "next big thing" in comedy in the early-90's (Reynolds' star never rose for a variety of reasons, notably his personal depression issues, and he eventually lost his spark).

After that, Cathy Cadman does your standard nasal Jewish New York comedienne act - she's decent, but the set runs out of steam; the headliner, Richard Jeni, delivers his typically energetic, very funny, attitude-laden set, underlining the tragedy of his death a few short years ago. (Rick Reynolds should count his blessings: at least he's still here, unlike Jeni, whose depression proved to be too much for him.) Paul Rodriguez introduces each guest and does brief bits in between, mostly dated racial humor.

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