Bobcat Goldthwait has slimmed down and dropped the manic voice that made him famous, but his energetic stand-up act gets a lot of mileage from his dubious earlier career -- and he's actually funny.
Popping onto the Improv stage Thursday night, sinewy and grinning, he told the crowd, "You don't look the same, either."
Goldthwait got his big start in some of those "Police Academy" movies of the mid-1980s and has since appeared in comedy character roles and lent his voice to numerous animated films. He is probably best remembered for setting the "Tonight" show couch on fire during a 1994 TV appearance that reportedly ticked off NBC. "I haven't been here in a couple of years," he said of the Improv. "I poked holes in the ceiling and they billed me for it -- but that's 'Old Bob' behavior."
Besides making fun of his own career ("That movie 'Soul Plane' looked so bad, I can't believe I wasn't in it"), the 42-year-old comedian lampooned other tarnished celebrities, including David Crosby, Michael Jackson, Nick Nolte and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"I live in California," he said, and was tempted to run for governor last year "when all the has-beens" ran. "But who would think a guy big in movies in the '80s, who nobody could understand what he was saying, would get elected?"
Goldthwait's show is relatively light on political humor, though he took some shots at President Bush. "I knew there were weapons of mass destruction -- I remember when his father sold them to Iraq: 'Why don't you just call your dad; he's got the receipts.' "
Opening for Goldthwait, through Sunday night, are two solid newcomers, local comedian Marc Patrick and Rory Scovel of South Carolina.
-- Leonard Hughes