David Alan Grier | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

David Alan Grier 

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Within two years of earning an MFA from Yale's drama school in 1981, David Alan Grier had nabbed a Tony nomination and a Venice Film Festival best actor prize for his performance in Robert Altman's Streamers. After In Living Color unearthed his comic gifts in the early 90s, however, he turned almost exclusively to movie comedies, sitcoms, and stand-up. And like John Leguizamo, he routinely displays the forms' theatrical potential. His face is a stage in itself, featuring Jim Carrey-like contortions and a supreme command of physical cliches: cocked eyebrows, stop-on-a-dime deadpans, fabricated guffaws. He also expands the usual stand-up space with ambulating impersonations, oversize gestures, and stentorian vocalizations. Jogging around as though at the LA marathon he quips, "I started this race the first Sunday in March; by the time I crossed the finish line it was the Fourth of July," pronouncing "Fourth of July" in that old southern black woman/Baptist preacher voice he loves to affect. Tall and lean, apparently Grier reserves his athleticism for his stand-up. Kjell Bjorgen opens, and Nikki Woods of WGCI hosts. Sat 1/21, 8 PM, Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, 1 University Pkwy. (Stuenkel and Governors Hwy.), University Park, 708-235-2222, $28-$37.

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