Friday, October 22, 2010

Are You Serious??? (1976)

The first Laff release showcasing earlier and (mostly) previously unreleased material. Got this at Golden Oldies in 1997. The cover drawing, with a train zooming over Richard's head, is tied in with Silver Streak. The first half of side one is at the Troubadour, and the rest from P.J.'s. Good recording sound and quality throughout the record. A lot of the shorter bits from the first album are here, but funnier and with more energy. With all due respect, this is much better than the first album, and much more representative of what his early material was like at that time.

Side one opens with a lively organ-trio fanfare, leading to Richard welcoming the audience in a whisper: "I would like to make you laugh, I would like to make you cry, I would like to...make you!". Richard then goes into the bits about his old street gang back in Peoria, the "Girls" routine, war movies, and the submarine pep-talk. He also does "Army Life" from the first album, but the "Kill Class" part of it is much better here, funnier, and with some good variations. The funniest bit is when he talks about the hillybilly guy getting to call cadence while marching in line: "Eenie-meenie-minie-moe! Catch a nig--!", and gets promptly pummeled by the black guys before he can even finish the word!

Side two starts off with his fire-and-brimstone preacher "in the year nineteen twunny-nahhhn!", walking down the street "eatin' a sammich", and running into God himself, who asks for a bite. He goes from that into talking about his two different grandmothers: "One used to give me milk and cookies, and the other used to give me beer and reefer...and needless to say which one I liked the best!". Then there's the "Smells" bit from the first album, followed by "Being Born", probably a more visual routine (and probably not unlike the re-created routine you see him do in Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling ).

The last bit is called "Mankind", kind of a history of the world, zipping by via a string of zingers and one-liners. The oft-remembered line is of the first Thanksgiving, where the head Pilgrim blesses the dinner and asks if everyone is thankful, and asks the same of the person sitting next to him: "Yeah, massuh!". It concludes with JFK's "Ask not what your country" quote melding into the Texas drawl of LBJ: "All men are!. On that note, Richard thanks the audience, the show is over, and so is the album.

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