Rick Shapiro - Rebirth
The tragedy of Shapiro’s story means there is little to laugh at
This article is from 2012.
It has always been strange to witness the tragedy at the heart of successful comedy. Voyeurism, schadenfreude, even embarrassment are tools of the audience when watching comics bear their soul for laughs. With Rick Shapiro however, there really is little to laugh at.
Shapiro seizes the same irate outlook on popular culture which has gripped many comics this year, but delivers it with an aimless performance. After spending the last three months recovering from a cardiac illness, for which he was admitted to hospital twice, he is only endangering himself further by getting up on stage. The material about his heroin addiction in the early days is scrambled and malnourished, and any attempt to tell us of his life with prostitution and underground comedy is fruitless.
Shapiro reels with anarchic hostility against young comics and ‘weak’ individuals, a deeply personal anger which clearly reflects his own inner-struggle. There are glimpses of his former self with intelligent observations and taboo-levelling jokes. But sadly, this is a man battling to articulate a coherent sentence, let alone a punch line.
Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 19, 20, 21, 23), 6.10pm, £12--£14 (£11--£13).