Old-school comic appeals mainly to the old
Taking the stage before a "lively" lounge crowd at Foxwoods, Collins is ready for an audience that doesn't keep its thoughts to itself, with an act that is loud and aggressive, punctuated by frequent, odd, annoying, high-pitched screams. Not since the days of Sam Kinison has screaming been funny, and it's not funny here, as it blends with Collins' twitchy, near-manic rantings to create a stage persona that feels past its expiration date. Despite that, the crowd seemed pretty into the show, though if you've ever been to a non-feature comedy show at a casino (as in one not held in a big theater) there's something not quite right about the crowd, who are normally either killing time or trying to get over a bad day of gambling.) The whole setting, with a bar dominating the room, some low-rent signage on the stage and a sad interruption from a dropped bowl, doesn't help sell Collins' comedy.
Part of the problem is the content of his act, which is rather generic and well-worn. How many comics have you heard talking about fat women, dogs, stupid people, politicians, reality television and getting old? To make it easier, how many comics have you heard NOT joke about these things? (Hint: they are probably your favorite comedians.) As Collins rants along, moving from topic to topic, using punchlines you've probably heard before (The gene pool could use some bleach? Really? Is this the Catskills?) he makes things more obnoxious, at one point harassing a young couple in the crowd, with an unfunny bit about their sex life. Once in a while he'll catch upon something that actually works, like his bit about the advantages of EZ-Pass, which is even funnier if you've experienced the joys of driving to Foxwoods. But then he'll go right back to screaming about buying sanitary pads for his sister and the funny disappears like cash at a Baccarat table.
What's really amazing is the way he throws around casual racism, and the way the crowd eats it up. His first bit, about dancing, starts with the word negroes, before moving on to Jews and a Polish joke. Polish jokes haven't been acceptable or funny for that matter since the mid-'80s. He goes on to joke about Hispanic women, violent Puerto Ricans, and Spanish-speaking bus boys. These things could be funny in the right context, along with his frequent complaints about stupid people, whether they work for the TSA or a dollar store. Unfortunately, there's a lack of clever jokes to go with these topics, with silly voices and increased volume filling the void to disappointing effect.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 presentation is uneven at best, sounding severely tinny and hollow throughout, while there are moments where Collins moves away from the mic and you can barely hear him at all. Part of it is the setting, but you'd think they could get a decent feed from the soundboard (not to mention the fact that Collins is wearing a second mic on his collar.) Either way, it's a straight-foward presentation, balanced around the middle with no noticeable dynamic mixing.
The Bottom Line