According to the press material, Billy Connolly's comedy can pack thousands into arenas throughout the U.K. and Commonwealth, so clearly there is an audience for him. I discovered I am not among it. One is initially charmed by his discursive delivery, his Scottish burr that casts his O's out ahead of the rest of his vowels, his sudden attack on nouns as if they were prey, and his resemblance to Merlin's younger brother, the enchanted biker.
The demented yet impish quality he has carries him along as he begins — and abandons — a multitude of story lines, often digressing into rather charming if unrelated territory, such as the time a hometown structure was being demolished and its interior doors, some of them Victorian treasures, were turned into a construction fence. This results in a toilet door with a letterbox and lovely imagery that cries to be turned into a film. Too, the slogan splashed against the faux alley backdrop, "Too Old to Die Young," and his insistence that as he stands before us he is "hurtling toward the graveyard" speaks to my middle-aged angst. And yet, he lost me.
He opens by defending L.A., but only the version he experienced in the 1980s while starring on Head of the Class — you know, the house in the hills, the swell car: that version. Life as it is lived on the flats of Tujunga Boulevard, where people traffic in incense and mood bracelets and dolphins, he holds in utter contempt.
And so it goes for the rest of two full hours: Something is held up — ghosts, truck beepers, feng shui — and found to be some variation of idiotic (usually "fucking idiotic"). He then laughs, cuing the audience that it's funny, and moves on. Set pieces include three fully developed stories of being vomited on, each one increasingly graphic. The gross-out crowd was lapping it up. (Sorry.) At the 1:50 mark, he launches into his A material, a cautionary and very nicely done screed on the book-based Messianic religions, which relates to nothing that has gone before. Then he's done. I was done a good bit before then.
Presented by Richmark Entertainment and Westbeth Entertainment at the Brentwood Theatre, 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood. Tue.-Sat. 8 p.m. Mar. 7-24. (213) 365-3500. www.brentwoodtheatre.com.