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October 07, 1985 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-10-07

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ARTS
the Michigan Daily Monday, October 7, 1985 Page 5

Eclectic humor showcased at

Jam

By Mike Fisch
IF TICKET SALES and crowd reac-
tions are any indication of merit
rthen Ann Arbor's First Annual

Comedy Jam was a smashing suc-
cess. Unfortunately, for many enter-
tainers mass appeal does not tran-
slate into critical acclaim. Friday
night's audience laughed at the great
-W

jokes, most of the not-so-great jokes,
and some people, like the woman to+
my left, laughted when there was no
one on stage. She paid $10.50 for her
ticket and she was damn well going to
get her money's worth.
Detroit's Mike Binder, who perfor-
med in and produced HBO's Detroit
Comedy Jam, was the first to per-+
form. The first half of his act was very+
funny; a bit about test tube people;
stood out as particularly witty. Said
Binder: "...Being a test tube girl+
would probably be o.k., but if you
were a guy you'd never live it down.
Kids would always be saying 'Hey yo!
Beaker Head. Your Mutha's a bunsen
burner."' Yea, I know you had to beI
there.
The latter half of Binder's act was+
slow. His "Day at Disneyland" piece,
in which he pretended to wait in line
for a ride, seemed to last forever. The
Disneyland idea was creative, it just'
needed a little brevity.
One of his more adventurous pieces,
"The Electronic Comedian," was a
brilliant idea, but the monotone voice
and computer-like timing of the jokes
lulled the audience.
Judy Tenuta followed Binder. Her'
stage persona seemed forced.
Creating a character is an enter-+
taining prospect, but Tenuta's was
simply unbelievable, and at times+

grating. Sometimes the maintenance
of her weird character was more im-
portant to Tenuta then the jokes she
told. She made comments like "Your
rays can't harm me, no, no, no" more
than once as if to remind us that she
was indeed a weirdo.
Thankfully Rich Hall, from Satur-
day Night Live, was the next
comedian on stage. Hall strutted on
stage wearing a David Byrne-style
suit, which made him look nearly two-
dimensional. After his hilarious
parody of "Girlfriend is Better," Hall
shed the square-shouldered white suit
not to latch onto some unbelievable
persona, but to be Rich Hall. It was a
pleasure.
A large part of Hall's act consisted
of sniglets - words that describe
peculiar things. Sniglets are an exten-
sion of George Carlin-style humor, in
which we take a closer look at things
we do, but never talk about.
Almost all of the sniglets worked.
We weren't laughing at Hall, so much
as we were laughing at ourselves,
making the humor that much more
tangible.
Hall spoke as one of us, a person
who does things like holding ju-jubees
up to the light at a movie theatre to
determine their color, or a person who
screws up so badly when he's opening
a milk carton that he has to open the

wrong side, and wonders why
waitresses wait until our mouths are
stuffed with food to ask 'Everything
O.K.?"
Hall did more than just sniglets. His
other material was also extremely
funny. Hall didn't put anybody down,
swear profusely, or talk about farting,
and he was still funny. It is possible.
Dave Coulier had the unenviable
position of being the last performer,
By the time he got on stage the crowd
had seen an hour and a half of stand-
up and they were beginning to tire.
Coulier's act, despite waning audien-
ce energy, was still fairly successful.
His cartoon character imitations -
Bullwinkle, Scooby Doo, Sherman,
and Astro from the Jetson's - were
flawless.
Coulier did an imitation of a blind,

black, blues musician in which he
played some pretty mean harmonica.
His imitation was right on target but
it didn't seem like stand-up comedy
material. The bit was not enough of a
parody to provoke much laughter,
although the audience was enter-
tained.
Unlike Rich Hall, Coulier did talk
about farts, an easy laugh topic for
stand up. And easy laughs he got. But
Coulier wanted more than that - he
worked to get some feedback from the
audience so he could improvise. The
listless crowd was content to sit back
and watch.
Was the show a success? Said Mike
Binder after the show. "I do it for the
people's faces. They're happy, man-
you can see it."

HIU5E

THIS WEEK AT GUILD HOUSE
802 MONROE
ANN ARDOR, MI
481 04

0l

. Monday, October 7

8:00 p.m.

GUILD HOUSE READING SERIES

DEVELOPMENT OF THE KIBBUTZ
CHAPTERS IN DANCE THERAPY
Thurs., Oct. 10; 7:30 p.m. at Hillel
Benny Schwartz of the Jewish Agency in Detroit will discuss
the development of the Kibbutz from its infancy as a radical
conception in group living to its present place in the highly
charged dynamics of Israeli society. The structure of the Kib-
butz will also be examined; how it responds to internal and
external stress. Sponsored by USI & PZC.

LONNIE HULL and DAVID SCHAAFSMA
Reading from their works.

Sniglets and gas-less humor made Rich Hall's performance one of the
best at the Comedy Jam last Friday night at the Michigan Theater.

October 9 6-8 p.m. October 11 Noon Forum
RICE & BEANS NIGHT OTTO MADURO
$2 requested author and activist
"Latin American
ProCeeds for material Liberation Theology:
aid to Contemporary Perspectives"
Central America. Lunch available for $1.

The Blue Nile - A Walk
Across the Rooftops (A&M)
sThe time was, not too long ago,
when it was hip to be depressed in an
artsy, melodramatic way. Bands like
Bauhaus, The Birthday Party, and
Joy Division developed cult followings
for standing out amidst the bright
techno-pop of the early 80's. Now
along comes The Blue Nile, a Scottish
band making their American debut
with their re-released 1983 recording,
A Walk Across the Rooftops. And
imake way for more angst.
The Blue Nile's angst is not that hip
kind worthy of cult followings or even
very much excitement. It is difficult
to categorize the abstract con-
' positions that make up their pieces,
but suffice it to say that the melodies
are somewhat nebulous arrangemen-
ts that play with repetition as they try
to draw the listener in. There are no
flashy studio effects or rhythmicly
strong arrangements; just plush, at-
mospheric moody images that serve
as the undercurrent to lead singer
Paul Buchanan's moaning, wailing
vocals. The pieces are extremely
languid in feel, and the beat never
picks up with the exception of "Stay"
the closest thing to a commercial

song on the album.
All the tracks feature droning,
anguished bocals which don't usually
have very much to say, for the lyrics,
too, are extremely redundant. The
tempos are slow and deliberate, and
somehow "mature" in feel. The
material tends toward subtle images
such as parades and rain; nothing
blatant like suicide. But unfor-
tunately, it ends up as "dilluted
angst"; and except for the vocals,
lacks any guts at all. Imagine a Win-
dham Hill production with vocals.
The sounds themselves are quite
pretty and ethereal, with nice ad-
ditions such as jungle noises, and the
repetition does work well in places,
but it lacks anything truly interesting
or imaginative.
Depression has grown up a bit and
slowed down, too. With that, however,
it has also lost most of what made it
interesting. The Blue Nile's debut LP,
in its attempt at art, has ended up
washing out much of the feeling that
was, perhaps, the original inspiration
for its material. Though not entirely
unpleasing, A Walk Across the Roof-
tops is definitely not worthy of much
acclaim.
-Beth Fertig

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OCT. 11, 1985
MORE THAN A BOOKSTORE
549 E. University (Corner of East U. and South U.)

fessional Employment, Chevron
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