Comedy Review: Hes 60 and still falling down
By Jim Lowe
Staff Writer | February 24,2013
Jim Lowe / Staff photo
Comedian Tom Murphy introduces his new show, “Laugh ‘til You Die,” at Montpelier’s Lost Nation Theater.
Tom Murphy is one of those rare entertainers who can perform physical comedy so naturally and comfortably that he is not only impressive, but terribly funny.
And that’s just what happened Friday at Montpelier’s City Hall Arts Center. The Waterbury Center comedian was premiering his latest show, “Laugh ‘til You Die,” and it had the audience reeling with laughter. Part of Lost Nation Theater’s “Winterfest 2013,” the final performance is at 2 p.m. today.
Murphy, who recently turned 60, celebrates in two ways in this ridiculously fun show: First, he imagines himself as elderly, with all his trademark pratfalls becoming clumsier — and funnier; and he spends the rest of the show attempting to prove he still has it, which he does — for the most part.
As proof, the show includes a short video of Murphy performing his expert slapstick and physical comedy on stages around the world. And then, he promptly reenacted much of this physically challenging — and hilarious — material.
One of the most challenging feats was spinning plates on top of poles, as many as five simultaneously, doing pushups between adjusting each plate. After a while, everything goes awry and the plates start falling and breaking. (Whether this was in the script or a real calamity is up for grabs.) The audience couldn’t have enjoyed it more.
Audience participation was also part of the show, particularly when, through the “efforts” of the entire audience, Murphy managed to leave four people “levitated” — they didn’t quite believe it.
It wasn’t all physical comedy. Murphy’s moments of standup comedy and ongoing banter were full of wit and jokes, some good, some not, but invariably funny. Some — particularly his cannibal jokes — had people laughing in spite of themselves.
Friday’s performance wasn’t perfect, but it was expert, and consequently consistently entertaining. Murphy is a first-rate performer who easily keeps an audience’s attention — and makes them glad of it.