The purpose of this is clear – cash in on his death. Timed to meet a (hopefully non-existent) Christmas market this is brutal, revolting commerce at its most artistically bankrupt and spiritually bereft.
Worse than that though – this collection of cobbled together chat-show pieces, starting with 1979’s Don Lane Show when Mork was becoming a TV sensation and concluding with a plug for the remake of The Birdcage in the mid-90s, actually shows the downside of Williams’ frenetic energy. Here we have his version of a Wild and Crazy Guy as borderline cry-for-help. His on-stage silliness as he eschews the standard Q&A interview format and runs willy-nilly to tease hair or finger daft props and boring pieces of the set (the repetition eventually makes these boring set-pieces of their own) sees Williams as manic and lonely.
There are one or two candid, revealing moments – there’s some laughs to be had from the spontaneity, but for the most part, when you’re not wincing at the ugliness of the motivations around this release, you’ll either cringe at the racist and sexist jokes (the ugly mire of TV chat shows across the 70s and 80s – and into the early 90s even) or you’ll be disappointed that what, as clever excepts, seemed like genius improvisation is actually a very limited range of standard-issue gags; the repetition cheapens what always seemed like a great, inventive skill.
Also – the title is misleading. Williams made his name, first, as stand-up comic. So Live Across Australia, although clearly explained in a subtitle and in the blurb info, would at first seem like a compilation of actual live show footage, rather than recorded chat-show TV filler-fodder.
So everything is wrong about this – but most awful of course is the fact it even exists. It’s cheap, lazy, nasty and cruel. I hope no one buys it ever.