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Heywood Banks: Good, Clean, Insane Comedy

January 15, 2006

Comedy is hard for anyone to do, but you're basically raising the bar on yourself as a comedian if your work isn't blue or political. All that has its place, but fans can include the whole family with an "all-rounder" kind of humorist like Heywood Banks!

Last summer friends of ours were strolling their remote rustic burg in the thumb of Michigan, near Bad Ax and Pigeon. They ran into a lunatic who was just really funny right there on the sidewalk, who had the little kids splitting their sides before anyone could blink. He mighta been selling stuff at a table. Turns out he was Heywood Banks, a nationally famous comedian. He lives in Flint or thereabouts...and vacations up in the sticks. When he's not playing Leno, Letterman or Vegas. Man, that alone is just plain weird. They came home with a CD.

It's been getting big airtime around here ever since and we bought a 2nd, too. I shoulda wrote it up sooner. I'm thick. But eventually I realize that we're enjoying something that others would appreciate but which they may not know about.

His comedy is musical. He's in the tradition of Weird Al, I suppose. But he's more insane and funnier. He writes and plays full-band full-on crazy songs about absolutely everything. "Wiper Blades" is playing right now. He has a great Michigan attitude---and I can only blame his genius on growing up around here, among the vacant lots, drainage ditches and minimalls. Lots of songs about "if I only had a bulldozer then everyone would be polite" or "be friendly to the crabby little old lady because you never know...who's got a gun"...or "She's the one-eye love"---the puns start picking up speed, like the one that says "I want to get you a loan." There's a song about "It's Just the Television" about a guy dismissing scary sounds until it's too late.

Heywood offers great production values, great playing, great voice. Just hilarious stuff. Suitable for anyone from age 5 on up. For those around age 8 you're going to get slap-happyism, the urge to invite friends over and share the joy, hysterics and much repeat play, so, parents, be careful.

And, dang, we just missed his show a half hour away at the Olivet High School. (We learned about it a half hour prior and actually tried to make it, but the blizzard under way at the time turned us back before we got a mile. Oh well. The spirit was willing.) We'll catch his Novi show on 1/27.

Now it's "I gotta gal with just one leg. Whatever you do don't call her..." Audience: "...Peg." I spose that's an old chestnut.

Our kids have memorized most of it. They sang the song "Dust Mites" for an amazed 4th grader in a playground the other day.

It's also fun hearing the live adult audience getting into it on much of his CD "Pretending I'm Not Home."

Click on the cover image of the CD "Treated and Released" below to get to the website that has his info and CDs for sale:

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