Wendy Liebman is my favorite standup comedian. She has been ever since I saw her first HBO special, and then her first Comedy Central special, and then her appearances on “Letterman” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” and even her cameos as a star on the '90s “Hollywood Squares” with Whoopi Goldberg. She also had a Showtime special a couple years ago called “Taller on TV,” and it's clear her style hasn't changed and shouldn't change: Liebman sticks to subliminal punchlines delivered with the wide smile of a kindergarten teacher. My favorite Liebman one-liner: “I'm going to my 30-year preschool reunion and I'm really nervous… because I've put on like a hundred pounds.” Her style allows her to be both pithy and wicked, and she even won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup of 1997.
That's why it was so weird to see her audition for “America's Got Talent” last night. Liebman claims she took time off from standup to raise her stepsons (She adds, “This is really a second chance for me”), and I guess if that's a viable excuse for claiming amateur status that puts Liebman back on my TV, I'm all for it. But it's also a little like having Alanis Morissette try out for “The Voice.” Even if she's taken it easy the past few years, she's still very much a recognized star in her field who made it basically as far as she could go. Hell, I'm sure Liebman has shared a bill with “AGT” judge Howie Mandel a few times.
But no matter: Here are some other Liebman smashes that deserve reviewing, after you've watched her “AGT” audition above. (Can you believe Heidi Klum is judging comedy? It's like I always say: If you want to know what's funny, ask a German supermodel.)
And finally, here's Liebman's entry in the very NSFW movie “The Aristocrats,” where she puts a spin on the familiar joke about an insane showbiz act.