Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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Robert Klein Can’t Stop

2009 March 26
by Susan Asher
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

One of the most popular comics on the circuit in the ‘70s, Robert Klein, is back on the road perfecting his act, preparing to tape his ninth HBO special. And at age 67, he’s still funny.

Klein performed two nights, March 24-25, at Atlanta’s most renowned comedy club, The Punchline, to an audience mainly of baby boomers.

Whether you have seen Klein live before, there are plenty of reasons to see him in your town: Foremost, he is a legend. Klein honed his craft at the premier training ground for comedic actors of his day, Chicago Second City, where he worked with Fred Willard and Peter Boyle. He has starred on Broadway, has penned an autobiography, “The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue,” has hosted “The Robert Klein Radio Show,” an internationally syndicated comedy-rock show, has performed at the White House and in a dozen films, has hosted “The Tonight Show,” and “Saturday Night Live” (where he starred in the first “Cheeseburger” sketch with John Belushi and Dan Akroyd), has performed stand-up comedy at the original “Improvisation” club, and has hosted “Arts and Entertainment Review” on the A&E Network. Additionally, he is seen regularly on “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

Although you may have seen some of Klein’s material before, on HBO or live, much of it is new, as he covers the latest in politics (Larry Craig, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, and President Obama), religion, sex, aging, erectile dysfunction, Greta van Susteren and Larry King. One of his most side-splitting and least controversial bits is about Cesar Milan, aka “The Dog Whisperer,” who on TV rehabilitates aggressive dogs with a whisper. Klein’s version of what the TV cameras don’t show is too comical.

The most hilarious number in the show is his 2001 Emmy-nominated song, “Colonoscopy,” featured on his seventh HBO special. With help from his keyboardist and musical director, Bob Stein, Klein sings the Broadway-style show tune as if he were acting out a scene on the stage with a lover. The lyrics and music are genius. A Broadway veteran who has performed in musicals, including “They’re Playing Our Song,” for which he received a Tony nomination and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Klein still has a wonderful voice, and sings a couple of other comedic numbers—an R&B tune and a blues tune. He closed the show with his classic blues routine made famous on “Saturday Night Live,” “I Can’t Stop My Leg.”

Former 99X morning DJ Jimmy Baron emceed the event. Since he left the station in 2006, he has co-hosted “Atlanta & Company” and plans to be back in radio soon. In addition, he recently launched his own video company, which records personal stories of individual’s lives.

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