To be honest, I was not expecting much from this particular stand-up comedy CD.

I have never been impressed by Mr. You Hockey Puck and his brand of insult humor and often felt Don Rickles was admired because he used to be popular and funny. I was even flabbergasted when the Just For Laughs Montreal International Comedy Festival put Rickles in its hall of fame (with hockey legend Jean Beliveau presenting him with the rather ugly award). Don Rickles Speaks! reissued by the Jewish Music Group proved me wrong, sort of. Rickles was a very funny and edgy stand-up comic.

There is an interesting concept behind this stand-up comedy CD. Various friends of Rickles like Pat McCormick and Dick Whittington lob usually softball questions at the comic on which he then riffs an answer or two. Since these people are familiar with what Rickles is best at, they obviously get him to talk about topics like Sinatra, politics, Nixon, Carson, other celebrities, and events in the news. The softness of the set-up question takes nothing away from the funny of the stand-up answer.

For those who remember the sixties (as in people who were parents then and baby boomers who did not smoke up too much) and for those who are a little savvy on the period and its personalities, this is an excellent and very funny comedy CD. For those for whom the sixties is a blur (those who smoked up too much) or who were born after, Speaks! still packs a pretty good comedic punch even if many of the allusions are simply totally lost on you.

Don Rickles Speaks! is a very good reissue stand-up comedy CD. The people who worked on it should be congratulated because sound wise it does not in any way show its age. The same care and attention was paid to the CD itself in the sense someone took the time to include a 4-page booklet inside the CD to give buyers a little bit of information about this comic. It is sometimes the little touches that make all the difference. Still, a few notes about more obscure references (Snookie Lanson, Bob Everly) would have been nice.

This stand-up comedy CD is a must have for any fan of the Borscht Belt era of comedy. Don Rickles Speaks! is not a hockey puck

Don Rickles Speaks!
Don Rickles
Stand-up comedy CD
Originally released on Warner Brothers
Reissued 2006 Jewish Music Group
37 minutes

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