One of the defining moments of my life was getting HBO back in 1975, complete with uncensored movies and comedy specials. Another defining moment was watching An Evening With Robert Klein, the first of many specials the comedian would make for the pay channel.
From the first joke, I was mesmerized. Klein had a confidence and poise that helped sell every joke, from the awkwardness of ordering a kosher meal on a plane to cab drivers taking the long way around if they know you’re a tourist (“Boom! Ogden, Utah!”) to one of my favorite comedic bits of all time: his blues piece, “I Can’t Stop My Leg,” complete with kickass harmonica and spiritualizing once his leg actually stops—only to have it start moving again.
Klein was a true bridge between the traditional Catskills-style comedians and the edgier work of Richard Pryor, and he’s inspired an entire generation of comedians, including Bill Maher. May his leg never stop.
Robert Klein November 16 and 17, 7:30 p.m., $18-$44. Suncoast, 636-7075.