There was a time when a comedian could come out on stage and get a few laughs with zinging one-liners, ribald stories and quick jibes at troublesome hecklers. Now things are different. Props, tricks and music are part of the comedian's bag of yuks. Comedy hasn't died, it has just changed routines. Last night [and tonight] three young comedians brought their new brand of humor to the Cellar Door.
Rich Hall, the headliner, took broad swipes at modern culture, from vegetarian restaurants to sports call-in shows to California hecklers ["Get off the stage. Save the whales!"]. He introduced Leo, a kind of mechanized Henny Youngman [in tape-deck form] and presented his version of a homegrown, low-budget TV newscast. Hall is a dazzling jokester who can dazzle a crowd with his razor-like repartee, and his routines are carried off with the fine and natural timing of the old masters.
Bob Dubac and John Simson, in their performances, were also funny in a specialized way. Dubec's comedic magic tricks and dark humor were contrasted by Simson's impersonations of rock 'n' roll stars. Of the two, Dubac was slightly more polished with his off-the-wall wit, producing such acts as slow-motion juggling and a card-picking rabbit. Simson was unrefined and lacked pacing, but his imitations of Bob Dylan and the supremes were excruciatingly accurate.
With Rich Hall, Bob Dubac and John Simson, the jokes may be new, but the laughs are the same. Take these comedians, please.