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Separated at Birth?

Dave Hill hosts a spiritual comedy forefather in form of guest Dick Cavett, making for a memorable edition of his 'Explosion' show.

Show photo by Beowulf Sheehan from Dave Hill's Twitter page.

With so many different performers out there in New York to discover, it might seem a bit excessive for one reviewer to return to the same subject only two months later, but Dave Hill is a performer who makes it worth doing (see review of 'Big In Japan,' 8/22/09).

His “Dave Hill Explosion” show (previously reviewed 10/5/06), has been running for four years now, and seen again October 22 with guests Dick Cavett (see "The Dick Cavett Show - Comic Legends") and musician Gordon Gano, is not getting old. If anything, Hill’s persona and the comedy of this show is getting more streamlined and masterful.

On this night, Hill’s opening monologue to his talk show “Explosion” incarnation was another of his hallmark naif-loose-in-the-city tales, shot through with his odd brand of confidence, this time that he is a crime fighter, contending with loud transvestites on the subway. Hill makes reference to them sassily saying, “no, you didn’t!” in response to someone objecting to their behavior on the train, but describes it as: “He would say something and they would say that he did not in fact say what they thought he just said. … They would refute what he had said by telling him he in fact did not say it.” Hill circled around this little point in his story to great effect.

And Hill is clearly doing something right, having in the past attracted Sandra Bernhard as a guest, and now talk-show legend Dick Cavett, with whom Hill clearly held his own, exhibiting just as quick a wit as this master. For instance, at one point, Cavett observed, “there’s something very peculiar about you,” to which Hill retorted, “right back at you, pops.”

But where this edition of the “Explosion” really took off into the stratosphere was after Gano, of the band the Violet Femmes, in the middle of that band’s best known song, “Blister In The Sun,” invited a segue into a long interruption from Cavett in the form of a semi-bawdy sea-shanty type folk tune, “I Learned About Women From Her.” [one particularly cutting lyric: “She knifed me one night/because I wished she was white/and I learned about women from her.”] It was an inspired and unexpected moment of the type Cavett often made room for in his TV talk show days.

In his own way, Hill is carving out his own eclectic showcase with the “Explosion.” Someone should put these shows on a larger web or TV forum, so they don’t just continue as live-only affairs for those in the know.




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