The tradition of Vaudeville, long since usurped by television and the movies, demanded that a comedian to prove himself in city after city, year after year. It wearied the bones but preserved material. A few TV shots allow the whole country to become instantly familiar with your act, and the anticipatory applause for Billy Crystal at Proctors on Saturday night proved that the audience was ready to hear it all over again.
I’ve never seen him on TV, but it’s impossible not to know the man’s reputation. Crystal does characters and bases his routines on them rather than on jokes. He dispatched a few of the audience-expected voices at the start, then launched into a comfortable account of his airplane trip to Schenectady, segueing into movies and then VCRs.