It must have seemed like a good idea: Abundantly talented Tracey Ullman goes onstage and presents an autobiography of sorts, showing how experience inspired many comic characters she created for her series and specials.
So why isn't Live & Exposed more entertaining? The theatrical format has a distancing effect on the viewer, and the direction makes it worse. Sometimes Ullman plays roles in costume and makeup; sometimes she doesn't alter her appearance but performs in front of large photos of the fully realized characters. Such bet-hedging betrays a fear that the audience's imagination can't be trusted. A more substantive problem is that Ullman's past isn't always a reliable source of laughs. She could skip her dancing days, and the special wouldn't suffer. You'll be touched and amused by Ullman's memories of doing one-girl shows for her widowed mother, but on the whole this is a letdown.