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Rita Rudner: Now Funny at the Venetian

The popular comedian lives up to her billing with her sublime new show.

By Las Vegas
Rita Rudner
(© Jacob Andrzejczak / Images of Vegas)
Rita Rudner
(© Jacob Andrzejczak / Images of Vegas)
After successful runs at MGM, New York New York, and Harrah's, comedienne Rita Rudner has kicked off her new residency, Now Funny at The Venetian -- and the tagline proves to be an accurate assessment of her act. With her droll, subtle delivery tackling a wide range of topics, she's just a hilarious presence.

From the moment she comes out on stage, until the end of her one-hour plus set, Rudner's material is spot-on. Kicking things off with a natural topic -- Las Vegas -- Rudner hits on subjects ranging from Circus Circus, the Mob Museum, Joan Rivers, and how The Venetian has the best of the old and the new ("You can take a gondola to The Gap.")

After joking about the perils of sunbathing topless (her husband warned her that she might "poke someone's knee"), Rudner segued into another choice subject: getting older. With that arena to work with, she hits on everything from fear of doctors (wearing white coats, "they dress like butchers") to menopause (according to Rudner, those one billion hot flashes "could account for global warming.") Of course, no Rudner show would be complete without her going into a primer on another preferred subject of hers: shopping. Rudner mines big laughs out of credit card theft, and then takes it one step further with her thoughts on identity theft: "If someone steals your identity, they should be forced to visit your parents."

From there, Rudner talks about bad investments (she's got a "401 Not-O-K"), tattoos and piercings, and side effects of today's medication (the anti-depressant which causes people to commit suicide). Rudner brings it on home to more fertile ground: the differences between men and women (when a woman sees a mess, she cleans it up; when a man sees a mess, he announces it). After tackling the gender politics, Rudner opens things up for a little audience Q&A before taking her bows.

In lesser hands, the material and topics would seem dated and trite. What makes it work here is Rudner's delivery; whereas others would go for a big, hammy, mugging, over-the-top performance, Rudner realizes that sometimes, less is more. In an era where many a comic feels that big and loud automatically equals funny, it's a treat to watch Rudner's witty, sublime routine.

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