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A Wild and Crazy Guy

Steve Martin

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Album Review

"Repeat after me. I promise to be different! I promise to be unique! I promise not to repeat things other people tell me to repeat!" This is Steve Martin in action. He says something somewhat pseudo-intellectual followed by something silly, observation of the moment in tow. Throughout the Wild & Crazy Guy compilation, Steve Martin continuously caps on himself for being a comedian. "It's really great to be here... There's nothing like doing the same thing over and over again every night for two weeks in a row." Self-reflective, one of his gimmicks is to put on the super suave act and compliment that by then turning into a complete imbecile. (Reference the movie The Jerk for a more complete definition of the phrase "complete imbecile.") Not only do his jokes fall into this unique-to-him format, but the album itself is set up the same way. The first half of the compilation is a series of clips of Steve Martin working the nightclub crowds in San Francisco. Very intimate settings. Lots of brainpower being exercised. The second half is Martin caught onstage in a frenzy of celebrating mob mentality in front of a fantastic crowd. There's a heavy reliance on his Saturday Night Live bits and creative but simple sex jokes.

Part one of the Wild & Crazy Guy album is wry and elicits a series cock-eyed grins along with several guttural "a-ha-I-get-its" from its audiences. There are many "takes" of the same joke (different versions, different clubs) that can give the at-home listener a sense of inertia, but this is forgivable (even enjoyable) because of the special kind of brilliance he bombards the audience with. Not everyone can play an idiot with the amount of savvy that Steve Martin can. Also, it is very interesting to hear how the same joke plays itself out with different crowds. The listener almost gets the sense that s/he is being let in on the creative process.

In the first half, Martin notes idiosyncrasies about college (his major, Philosophy, no surprise) career, and language. He claims he has a way with words, while other people, he notes, "er...not have way." This comedy album also contains some of Martin's best (and most repeatable, not to mention stolen) comeback lines. When interrupted by a catcall from the peanut gallery, Martin takes a moment, then offers, "Yeah, I remember when I had my first beer." (Some of the more "heady" humor from this section that would be lost on a larger crowd also translates into his written works. He even names a few new faux titles including, "I'll Take the Alphabet." An important work for him, he muses, because it's when he first started to include verbs in his writing.)

Part two of the Wild & Crazy Guy album (the crazy part) isn't quite as engaging from a philosophical standpoint. But if you're looking for zany, "Excuse me, I lost my mind for a moment." Here Martin lovably panders to a roaring audience. He leaves his intellect for the crowd who can really appreciate it and beefs up posing as a complete idiot for the enjoyment of all involved. Non sequiturs abound between gags. (Another Steve-ism). He sings, "I'm a neat guy." And "Grandpa/bought a rubber." The crowd, obvious SNL devotees, gets treated to the famous "kitty handcuffs" bit, King Tut, and a rare on-stage appearance of the album's namesake and actual wild and crazy guy character.

All in all, a very enjoyable album highlighting the range of Steve Martin's craft. A must-have for the shelf of every fan.

Biography

Genre: Comedy

During the 1970s, Steve Martin was the most successful standup comedian in America, earning the level of commercial success — sold-out arena performances, platinum records, hit singles, and delirious fan adulation — usually reserved for rock stars. Although his career went on to encompass stints as an acclaimed dramatic actor and playwright, for...
Full bio
A Wild and Crazy Guy, Steve Martin
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  • £8.99
  • Genres: Comedy, Music, Standup Comedy
  • Released: 01 June 1978

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