Judge Brett Cullum takes a look at the one act in Vegas that is not topless and has no poles.
"My husband gave me a necklace. It's fake. I requested fake. Maybe I'm
paranoid, but in this day and age, I don't want something around my neck that's
worth more than my head."
Rita Rudner started her professional life as a Broadway dancer, even appearing in the legendary original production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. But in 1980 she decided she was sick of competing with all the female dancers, and wanted to move in to a career where there weren't as many women. Patterning herself after Jack Benny, Woody Allen, and Bob Newhart, she developed her own brand of observational humor. Rita is unique because she doesn't swear or do dirty humor, but instead likes to make gentle, softspoken remarks that are bitingly funny. Rudner appeared in standup clubs, and got her big break when she appeared on The Tonight Show under the reign of Johnny Carson. Rita and her manager-husband moved to Las Vegas once she got a multiyear deal with the New York, New York Casino. During this time the couple adopted a daughter named Molly. She was lured over to Harrah's Casino to continue her act, which has become a top Vegas attraction. This DVD recorded the 2,000th performance of her show in the Harrah's theatre. The nice thing about Rita Rudner: Live from Las Vegas is the whole family can watch it together since Rudner doesn't swear or talk about anything too inappropriate. She's a funny lady with a gentle sense of humor.
The DVD from Image Entertainment simply captures the live performance from start to finish, and runs right at one hour. Rudner's dress and stage are both well appointed and glitzy, and the audience is appreciative. It's a nice show, and the camera work is fine with reaction shots interspersed with the live act. The concert portion of the show was originally aired on PBS, but it was cut for time by a few minutes. The DVD version includes the full act without any trims. Also on the disc are nine featurettes which feature Rita Rudner visiting different Las Vegas attractions. The transfer is solid with a widescreen presentation that looks clear and color correct. A stereo soundtrack works fine to transfer the comic's patter.
Rita Rudner: Live from Las Vegas is as "sweet as pie" as the comic it stars. Rudner is comfortable, the audience is appreciative, and the material concentrates on the differences between men and women. There's no offensive language and her humor is family friendly which is a rare find these days. She's a pioneer in women's comedy, nowhere near as brash as her counterparts like Margaret Cho or Kathy Griffin. If you can't make it to Vegas this is the next best thing to seeing a live performance. It's very funny and surprisingly wholesome. It makes me wonder what the hell is happening to Sin City when one of it's biggest draws is a woman in her fifties that has a clean mouth and a full dress on.
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