We be thinkin’ Wallace makes hilarious return
Bloomingdales. Potholes in Cleveland. Black people in Atlanta. Indecipherable rappers. Morgan Freeman. The Cracker Barrel. Donald Trump. Oh, and a little comic crotch thrusting.
That’s merely a small sampling of the comedy pinball you get to play now that George Wallace has returned to a Vegas stage after a four-year absence, this time at the cabaret at the Westgate Las Vegas.
With the cozy venue well-suited to his play-off-the-audience style, Wallace, at age 69, is still every bit the quick-witted quipster — emphasized by his motto-bearing beret declaring, “I Be Thinkin’” — wrapped in a cuddly, avuncular comedy persona.
“I don’t do a show. I talk,” Wallace tells his audience, shuffling across the stage and calling on random patrons as springboards for punch lines and topic prompts. Referring to a blind woman who attended one of his shows, he notes: “She was the best laugher of the night. I gave her a copy of my brand-new DVD.” On his childhood religious training: “We used to go to church on Sunday and get out on Tuesday.”
Dollops of video and audio elements dot the show, such as when he complains that he can’t understand a Rihanna song (cue her belting out truly gibberish-y lyrics), then leads the audience in a few bars of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” as a contrast. Even an extended riff on the agonies of hemorrhoids is a sustained howler. And those pop star-mocking crotch thrusts he makes toward the crowd? Given his roly-poly/big-bear physique, it’s visual comedy gold.
Yet it’s his warmly benign style that gives Wallace enough tonal breathing room to venture into potentially incendiary and timely topics, such as Mexican immigration, Bill Cosby’s trials, even the cultural trapdoors on use of the N word — and yes, Donald Trump.
We be thinkin’ that we missed ya, Big George.
— Steve Bornfeld