Reno: Rebel Without a Pause | Chicago Reader

Reno: Rebel Without a Pause

As a forum for social satire, stand-up has deteriorated badly since the days of Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, and Dick Gregory; this video by comedian Reno, taped in a small Manhattan club in December 2001, provides welcome redress with its mordant commentary on September 11 and its political aftermath. Her monologue progresses from the surreal experience of seeing the twin towers burn from her apartment window (she has to turn on her TV to make sure it's real), to joining the refugees of “Tribecastan” on their way up Sixth Avenue (the first thing she packs is her vibrator), to the weirdly euphoric sense of community that swept the city in crisis. The latter part of the show—in which she skewers Bush, Giuliani, Ashcroft, and Larry King—isn't quite as funny, but her radical take on the national psychosis is bracing, especially when she catches herself wondering, “Where the hell was the CIA?” Nancy Savoca (Household Saints) directed. 72 min.

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