For anyone who has wondered whether Robin Williams would be up to his usual shenanigans post-open-heart surgery, recent reviews suggest he's firing on all of his wacky cylinders.
The manic comic-turned-Oscar-winning actor, who performs 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27 and 28, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, is wrapping up a tour that was disrupted in March when he had to undergo emergency heart surgery. The 35-city event ends next week in New York City.
"Williams was his usual energetic, profane, drug-obsessed, penis-obsessed self at Casino Rama, entertaining a packed house of 5,200 that was relieved to see, at least on the outside, little has changed," wrote Bill Harris in the Toronto Sun of a recent performance in Ontario, Canada.
Mal Vincent, of The Virginia-Pilot, wrote, "If the Constant Center brings him back, it needs to add seatbelts to keep people from falling out from laughing so hard. There's no stopping him."
Williams' current act seems to be a mix of riffs about local news items and issues for each tour stop, paired with more universal material - much of which is unprintable in a family newspaper.
Among the topics safe for all audiences were jokes about the current debate over health care reform, the shortcomings of former President George W. Bush ("Dubya" to Williams) and Chicago's failed bid to land the 2016 Summer Olympics.
"No wonder Rio got the Olympics. Brazil sent 50 strippers with a Latin beat," Williams says. "We sent Michelle and Oprah. The results aren't surprising. But does anyone think it's safer in Rio than it is in Chicago?"
In Norfolk, Williams showed his gift for the local touch by throwing out the requisite, "Y'all," during his opening, picking up on Virginia Beach's supposedly snobby reputation and critiquing the state's smoking ban, among other regional topics.
"I can't believe you couldn't get a tattoo in Norfolk up until two years ago," he said. "Isn't this a Navy town?"
The constants in his current routine include a joke about health care, in which he compares the Senate to NASCAR.
"You want to know how senators are going to vote on anything?" Williams asked. "Senators should have to be like NASCAR drivers and wear the names and logos of all their sponsors on their suits."
If the Toronto Sun's Harris had one complaint about Williams' act, it would be his dependence on material about drug use.
"The 58-year-old Williams hardly is the only comedian of his generation to still be too obsessed with drug humor, but there were far too many jokes about being high," Harris wrote. "The crowd grew noticeably weary of them."
Still, Williams was able to mine laughs from his own struggles with substance abuse.
"Some people call themselves functioning alcoholics," he says. "Being a functioning alcoholic is like being a paraplegic lap-dancer. You can do it, just not as well as the others."
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, and Saturday, Nov. 28
WHERE: Event Center, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City
HOW MUCH: Tickets, priced at $175, $195 and $245, are available at the Borgata box office or ComcastTix at 800-298-4200.
WEB SITE: www.robinwilliams.com
From Ork to the big screen
Actor-comedian Robin Williams trained at the prestigious Juilliard School, but his first big acting break came via a mass-audience vehicle: the "Happy Days" spinoff "Mork and Mindy."
Williams played wacky space alien Mork from Ork, who ends up in Boulder, Colo., during the ABC series' four-year run from 1978 to 1982.
The TV gig proved a springboard for a varied film career that has included comedic roles in major hits such as "Mrs. Doubtfire," "The Birdcage" and "Aladdin," as well as dramatic turns in films such as "The World According to Garp," "Insomnia" and "Good Will Hunting," for which he won an Academy Award for best supporting actor.
Williams has received best actor Oscar nominations for "Good Morning Vietnam," "Dead Poets Society" and "The Fisher King."
His latest comedic film, "Old Dogs," left, opened Wednesday, Nov. 25, and pairs him with another '70s sitcom actor-turned big screen star: John Travolta.