Live from New York

Gilda Radner

1979: Warner Bros. 9 45695-2

  1. Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals
  2. The Audition
    I Love to Be Unhappy
  3. Don Kirshner
    Rhonda Weiss Introduction
    Goodbye Saccharine
  4. Lisa Loopner Piano Recital: “The Way We Were”
  5. If You Look Close
    Gimme Mick
  6. Emily Litella
  7. Roseanne Roseannadanna
  8. Honey (Touch Me With My Clothes On)

Many parts of this CD, and of the video of this Madison Square Garden show, are so embedded in my psyche now that I have neglected to even acknowledge them here. “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals” has been one of my favorite Songs to Sing Along To for gin only knows how many years, with its wonderfully Disney-bright cheerfulness delivering inimitable lines such as “up yours, Mr Hippo! Piss off, Mr Fox! Just tell a chicken ‘suck my dick!’ ’n’ give ’im chicken pox!” And of course its closing line, “never tell an alligator ‘bite my snatch!’ is even more fun to sing along with than to simply hear, especially if you’re in a car with your friend Rob and both of you are singing along and gesturing with both the “NO!” and the “YES!” of the interrupted arrival of the line. Of course I may be speaking from experience and of personal impressions here but let’s not quibble.

Although “Goodbye Saccharine” is in some ways the funniest track on this album, there are many parts of the Candy Slice sequence that truly do rule (and OH does G.E. Smith get his moment of buzz-cut punk/thrash glory here!), and they’re even more solid when you have the visuals in mind (including Candy’s laconically blunt request for “booze!” before she performs). I love singing “If You Look Close” as I’m out biking, although I try to keep from singing the titular line when I’m within earshot of others. (The title comes from the line “If you look close, you can see my tits / ’Cause I want you to but don’t want you to know that I do!” And after Candy sings it the band does a couple of times, which makes it even funnier.)

The closing track is as “huh???” on the video as it is on the CD—like a late-in-the-show SNL sketch that addressed a cast member’s psychological issues and lost the audience in the process, only in this case it’s just a gently odd step into inaccessible territory (for me, anyway). That the show ends with either genuine or gently spoofed prudishness (after it started with such perky vulgarity) only wraps things up with a question mark following points of ellipsis, instead of the big punch/bang one might expect; it doesn’t diminish what has been experienced, it only leaves a final reflective uncertainty and a sense of unfinished transition in one’s mind.