Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Outrageous (1979)

I bought this from an antique store downtown called The Time Machine on a cold, blustery afternoon in December 1989. This was the second one that I found and bought. This was the first that had a two-sided album cover (those corny liner notes on the back would never be seen again!), this one with Richard behind one of those photo-op cutouts, with his head sticking out above a bodybuilder's body, lifting a huge barbell; on the back, he's clad only in his boxers! I'm thinking that the cover is tied in with The Muppet Movie.

This album is the start of patchy sound and recording quality, mixed in with abrupt and sloppy editing, making for jarring listening. Also, this is the start of the record labels having scant titles for the routines; often where there would be a dozen routines on an album side, there would only be five or six titles shown, and usually not representative.

Side one is mostly from the Troubadour, in varying degrees of recording and sound quality. He starts out very timidly: "Thank you very much, and I would like to...make you...heh-heh-heh...that's what I'd like to do!". He goes on about getting a ticket for the first time, and actually thanking the cop who gave it to him. Then he goes into a routine about a surgeon performing an operation, only it's actually a suit he's been stitching together! Then there's the "Improvisation" bit where he does an imitation of a black man being beaten up by cops during a riot, and the cops say to each other afterward, "Wait, that's not the right one! Ah well, let's go!".

The sound quality improves a bit where he tells about his old street gang getting ready to have a rock and bottle-throwing fight with a rival gang, and almost gets into it with his own guys for copping out and not wanting to do it. Then there's bits about being overseas in Germany, musings on what kind of guy Jesus was, and concludes about wanting to end the show with a bang. He tells the anecdote about stripping down and running through the casino stark naked, but laments "Then you gotta come back and get your clothes. You know, it's embarrassing, because of goose-pimples and you shrink up...[nasal white person's voice] I though Negroes were built better than that!".

Side two is where the cheesiness and choppy editing starts coming in. It starts off with the "I Feel" and "Hit me with a brick!" routines that were heard on Black Ben The Blacksmith , only slightly edited down a little bit. The best bits are about Terry Austin, the neighborhood tough-guy who gets the snot beaten out of him by a wino, whom they pay off with a bottle of wine; there's another "Highway 16" routine, very imaginatively done, this time with a truckload of feathers that got jack-knifed, and then Dracula and the brother on the street (we finally find out why Dracula doesn't like dark meat here!).

The rest of the album side is filled with the poorest-recorded material on any of the Laff albums. It cuts into the middle of a rendition of "Mankind", but with some interesting variations that include Moses, Julius Caesar, and even Frank Sinatra ("Aw, he'll never make it--he's too skinny!"). Then it cuts into a rendition of "Heart And Brain" and "Playboy Club", whereupon it cuts abruptly into loud applause from a different recording, and then fades out.

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