Show Review By: Melody Charles
If you haven’t made your home under a rock in the last fifteen-odd years and have access to a T.V. or DVD player, chances are that you’re familiar with infamous lines like “Bang! Bang! Bang!,” “Don’t nobody go in the bathroom for 35, 45 minutes” or “You’ve got the coordinate!,” But even if you haven’t heard these expressions, you probably still would’ve enjoyed John Witherspoon’s screamingly hysterical comedy set at Irving, TX’s Improv in March.
Now 66 years old, the Detroit, MI native has an impressively consistent resume, having been cast in shows like chances are you’ve seen him in shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Wayans Brothers, on the celebrated cartoon series The Boondocks (doing the voice of Grandpa) and, of course, as the gruff, dog-catching father of Ice Cube’s Craig in the Friday movies (hell, the man is practically comedy’s answer to the just-as ubiquitous actor, Samuel L. Jackson). At any rate, Mr. Witherspoon certainly proved why he’s thrived in the business for so long; with razor-sharp timing, Mr. Witherspoon takes the most mundane of observations and events and transforms them into side-splitting, giggle-inducing madness.
Dressed like a golfer who’s mirror was missing (yes, that badly folks), he spoke of touring with the younger Def Jam comics and being unable to handle their more potent modern version of his lifelong nerve soother, marijuana: “I stood in one spot salutin’ for three hours and didn’t eat for four days. After that, I ate up some raw bacon, a stick of butter and ice—the s*** tasted good too!” He also told of helping Hurricane Katrina survivors, intending to serve food to the homeless but tricked into being marooned on a rooftop just like them and begging for the nearest helicopter to rescue him in turn. As for those who didn’t take the evacuation order seriously? “If you see the mayor on T.V., running down the road with suitcases, you need to go on and get the f*** out!”
Nothing was too sacred or off-color; Mr. Witherspoon confessed that he went back to his old school black-and-white TV after watching a dying, 65-pound Tammy Faye on The Larry King Show in high-def: “Hell, her eyelashes must’ve weighed at least 25 poundss! Human eyes ain’t supposed to witness s*** like that up close!” He marveled at the sheer stupidity of OJ Simpson—“Ever see anybody want to go to jail so damn bad?”—and even sung an ode about his plight: “OJ, you’re the dumbest MF I know: you killed two white folks and then got away; you know don’t too many folks get to do that s*** today!” he also told the audience to stop giving to Jerry Lewis’ telethons since they don’t appear to have helped much: “that MF’s raised 63 million dollars for research and ain’t nobody got up and walked YET!”
Other celebrities were grilled mercilessly as well; Diana Ross? “I heard she sang ‘set me free why don’t you babe?’ to the cop when she got arrested for drunk driving.'” He imitated Michael Jackson singing on-stage, then pausing as he reached down for his fallen nose. Even soul legend Smokey Robinson wasn’t safe: saying that he looked like a white woman with his too-obvious eyelift, he crooned like the singer and pointed referringly to his peepers with the line of “Mistakes, I know I made a few…”
And that’s not all; according to Mr. Witherspoon, John McClain looks like a tyrannosaurus rex, George Bush’s daughters were so dumb that one used a black girl’s ID to get into a club and drink as a minor, and NY’s latest black governor took self-disclosure to the extreme by practically confessing “I f***ed EVERYBODY, and as for past drug use, hell—I’m high RIGHT NOW!”
Considering what we face everyday, more of us should all spend some extra time in John’s warped world.