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Now that Lenny's dirty mouth has become a drug on the market -- not to mention the Groucho revivals or Uncle Miltie or even Markfield's You Could Live If They'd Let You (1973) -- you may be getting weary of the same old stand-up routines and stolen gags. Nevertheless Bart Goldwine, star of stage, screen and TV -- ""the best of Gobel crossed with the best of Sahl with a touch of Cox and a soupcon of Randall"" (at other times he rivals Benny, Allen, Cantor, Jessel. . .) -- turns out to be the perfect vehicle for Faust's showy, diverting talent. Goldwine is the stock ""natural"" from Flatbush, devoted son of Hyman and Sophie, adoring little brother of Mitch, with ""the yearning -- like a hunger or a fantastic need to pee and no place to do it -- to be famous."" Faust tells his story (which is primarily the story of the social progression of every lay he ever had or almost had in New York and Hollywood and around the wartime world) in the guise of an authorized biography, with Goldwine's comments appended to each ""interview"" and ""document."" He rises from normalcy and Coolidge prosperity, through the War and readjustment, and peaks with his Kennedy impersonation. Hitler, Hirohito or the Curly Headed kid of Camelot, everything is material for the great Goldwine but after first one assassination, then another, the wiseass comic, who's been on the bottle for some time now, loses his stuff entirely. Goldwine and America start on a downhill road together, arm in allegorical arm. You know it all very well, maybe too well -- but maybe that sense of recognition is why it's such a discomforting shot in la bonza.

Pub Date: March 21st, 1975
Publisher: Doubleday