July 22, 2009


July 22, 2009

Both a little Grey-er


It’s a ‘two for one’ exhilarating evening of satire and political fun. Dick Gregory has still got that sparkle that made him one of the World’s most sought after headline performers. Gregory keeps the audience fired up with his jabs about everyone and everything. No one is safe as he rolls out the puns. He also makes fun of himself, his culture and our culture.
“I’m early – because you know what they say about Black Folk!”

Gregory talks about his life. “I’m 76 and my wife is 71. And there are no prescription drugs between us.” Gregory is an anti-drug crusader and nutritionist. He is all about healthy living. And at 76, he still can jump on and off the stage. “Now, Mort Sahl who is coming up next is older than me. So, laugh hard and clap real loud -- you may see someone die up here.” – he sez.

Just about that time a Cell phone goes off. Gregory looks up to the ceiling. “Is that you Lord? That Cell phone ring sounded like the bill was not paid.” It was a very annoying ring, but got lots of laughs.

As a matter of fact, everything that Gregory said on stage brought bent over laughs from everyone in the audience.
Gregory is also a philosopher: “The people that run the world have never worked.” That is not only funny – but, true, in my book. That is why everyone loves Gregory -- he has a way of making fun out of the hidden truths.

Though, most of his comments on life are about today -- he does go back into history now and then to let us know how it was way back then. “When I grew up there was no T.V. We just listened to Tap Dancers on the Radio.”

This knocked the audience out of their chairs: “Cigarettes will give you Cancer. Oral Sex will not give you Cancer!” Some People have called Gregory the Black Mort Sahl (who follows Gregory in the show). And Gregory’s friends call Sahl the “White Dick Gregory.” They both draw their material from current events, politics and social movements.

Gregory is a Master Comic. He’s subtle -- but, Oh – so powerful!

MORT SAHL – AN EXTRAORDINARY STORY TELLER I’m older than Dick Gregory. I just paid off my student loan”, Sahl sez.

About Obama: “The President is the only guy that has bigger ears than Ross Perot.” A lot of the time Sahl admits – “everything I say is true – oh, sure I do embellish a bit.” Like this one: - “Home Depot put out a notice that they were looking for help. The parking lot was full of people looking for jobs. Sarah Palin was there – she was the only one they didn’t hire.”

Mort Sahl is the Political Comedy God. Not only has he been one of the most enduring stage performers in the world. Sahl has also written for the movies, T.V. and other comedians.

Sahl may be older, but he still has that great strong voice, and his memory is sharp as a tack as are his sly insights into the political pot. That pot never stops stirring, and Sahl keeps up with what’s going on. He had the current New York Times with him. “I get all my ideas from the Newspaper he says. Yes, in Sahl’s world – Newspapers are more than just the funnies – they are a Gold Mine of material about the upside down world of politicians.

Sahl sometimes delves into other areas. “Lets take Gay Marriage. Which I’m in favor of. Why should THEY be happy.” Good question and answer – and funny as hell. He continues with that subject. Oscar Wilde. He wrote: ‘It is love that dare not speak its name’ Now it won’t shut up!”

AS A WRTIER, MORT SAHL IS CREDITED WITH 18 SCREENPLAYS AND HAS BEEN A SPEECH WRITER FOR 3 PRESIDENTS. And he tells many funny stories about these presidents. Surprisingly even Ronald Reagan was funny. And George Bush junior also came out with a few zingers. Maybe he missed his real calling. Just wondering.

Sahl and Gregory are both “Utterly Irreverent! This show is full of uproarious surprises and laughs. Terrific guys. They both fire up the stage. Don’t miss! Every gesture and glance is perfection.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) – trademarked –

When you go: The Rrazz Room. Hotel Nikko Through July 26, 8pm
222 Mason http://www.therrazzroom.com/.
Or 866-468-3399.


More reviews: http://www.beyondchron.org/

TAGS: Comedy, fun, comedians, stage, movies, fame, famous, humor

July 15, 2009


July 15, 2009


Singing songs made famous by one of the most popular entertainers of all time is not an easy task. Haran, however has managed to bring some of the charisma of Day to the Rrazz stage. She is not trying to sound like Day, but only to give us the feeling that somehow Day is in the room.

One of Haran’s winners of the evening, and there are many, was “It All Depends of You.” Haran gives new value to this wonderful Ray Henderson Standard. She also enchanted with the Richard Rodgers/Lorenz hart “Little Girl Blue”.

Having worked with Doris Day on a Documentary that was on PBS, Haran gives us some insights to the sometimes-mysterious Day. “Her first big hit was when she went with the Les Brown Band and sang “Sentimental Journey” (he wrote the music) – it was a big hit that I enjoyed immensely as I was growing up. It is still one of the most played standards today.” – sez Haran.

Of course Haran sang “Que Sera, Sera” – it wouldn’t be a Doris Day evening without it. Haran made it fresh again. Wonderful song that is full of smiles.

Of course it would not be a Doris Day event without some Sammy Cahn wonderful lyrics – and they show up in “I’ll Never Stop Loving You.” Great tunes sung by two great stars – Doris Day (originally) and Mary Cleere Haran for today’s audience. Haran was surprisingly funny as she interjects plenty of humor in between the beautiful rendering of the intricate song styling of the songs that made a True American Idol of Doris Day.

I was happy and thrilled to be able to hear all these wonderful tunes again on a stage. The Rrazz Room is the perfect place for this impressive evening with Haran.


RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook section and produced a long-running Arts Segment of PBS KQED)))

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July 1, 2009


Lee Hartgrave reviews July 1, 2009

LESLIE JORDAN – Devilishly funny man

Wouldn’t it be great if Comic Leslie Jordan were to play Nurse Ratchid in ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’? I think it would be a hoot. But right now you can see this talented Joker on the Rrazz Room stage performing his one-man autobiographical show to a packed audience.

He loves to tell all about his life, including the ups and downs during his drug and drinking years. Something, that could have easily ruined his budding career,
But as Jordan tells the audience – “I found out a long time ago that the best way to deal with adversity in life is to get people to laugh.” Needless to say, Jordan has succeeded in that department. Hey, not everyone wins an Emmy Award.

As funny as the story about his life is – Jordan is the one who makes it interesting. There are great storytellers and the not so great. Jordan happens to be one of the great ones who can keep you interested for over an hour and a half. He tells us with great gusto about his time in jail, about his growing up in the South and a father that was puzzled by him. Especially when he asked his dad if he could have a ‘Bridal Doll’ that he saw in a store. His Dad was an Army man – and did not think that a Doll was the best thing for a young man to have.

Great fun was when he described his school years. He had some trouble with other teens harassing him. So, he decided to make fun of himself, crack jokes and keep them laughing. “Be funny if you want to keep those boys at bay!” – he said.

This got hysterical laughs from the audience. When he talked about the Gay Bar ‘Oil Can Harry’s’. “I always liked the Cowboy look and this bar seemed to be filled with them. But the closer you got to them -- you noticed 50 yards of Chiffon."

Deliciously funny was his comments about Bill Bob Thornton when they were on a Film Set together. “Billy Bob Thornton is crazy loon, but not Gay. He was lying down on the ground wearing shorts. I was able to spot his Balls hanging out, and they were big as Billiard Balls” – he chuckled.

When he was whisked to jail for a minor thing – he hired a Lawyer, who he paid $4000 to. “When they took me away, I saw the $4.000 Lawyer waving at me like I was leaving on a Cruise Ship.” His friend Del Shores told him “Baby. I not going to come and get you anymore. You’ve got to put a plug in the Jug.” In other words, quit drinking.

Jordan has a terrific sense of timing. And in the comedy routine world, that is most important. He is a natural mimic who can squeeze funny stuff out of any phrase or word. A gesture, a look, a crinkled up nose all get the point across. If you want an evening of non-stop laughter – I think you should put your troubles away, and see what Dr. Jordan can do for you. The only pain you’ll have by being there is a sore tummy from laughing too hard.

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-

At the Hotel Nikko @ Mason & O’Farrell

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))


More reviews: www.beyondchron.org.