Picks and Pans Review: Billy Crystal: Don't Get Me Started

updated 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

There may be a lesson here for B.C. The first half of this 60-minute tape is original, diverting and consistently funny. The second half is strictly routine. The beginning is an ersatz documentary about a rehearsal for a Crystal TV special, with Rob Reiner reprising his "Martin DiBergi" character—the "rockumentary" filmmaker—from This Is Spinal Tap. Eugene Levy shows up too, as an overbearing producer, as does Brother Theodore, the "existential sit-down comic," and Christopher Guest, as a flamboyantly gay choreographer. Most of the fun, though, comes from Crystal's own menagerie of impressions. As Sammy Davis Jr. he does a version of the Abbott and Costello "Who's on first?" routine with Brother Theodore. As Fernando Lamas he gets lost on the way to the rehearsal site and calls to ask, "Did you say make a right turn at Martin Balsam's house and just go straight?" Best of all he does Buddy Young Jr., the never-quite-funny borscht belt comedian reminiscent of such performers as Alan King or, these days, Jackie Mason. Young discusses his old TV children's show, Fort Fun, with Reiner (he did drinking and gay jokes mostly), and when Reiner asks him to reveal the secret of his long marriage, Young replies, "Bisquick" and yuks over his own supposed genius. The second half of the tape, a straightforward concert at Hofstra University, is dreary. Crystal's impression of Whoopi Goldberg, which was actually shot offstage, is the highlight. Billy does, however, at least have enough sense here to go light on the "mahvelous" jokes in his Lamas mode. (Vestron, $59.95)

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