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REVIEW: Denis Leary ‘Rescue Me’ comedy tour finale a barn-burner

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

A sampling of Denis Leary tweets posted on a video screen during his Sunday night show at Town Hall: “World Cup Stat: 98% of Americans think Ronaldo is a clown who works at the Madrid McDonald’s”; “Survey: 1 in 5 high school students have abused prescription drugs. The other 4 are no fun at all”; and “This just in: Vatican acquires Neverland Ranch.”


New season of “Rescue Me” begins this Tuesday on FX

“Bud Selig refuses to correct umpire’s mistake. In other news: Pope makes Selig a bishop.”

“Study: younger siblings take higher and much more dangerous risks. I’m praying there’s not a Betty Winehouse.”

And one that didn’t make the board but should have:

“Lindsay Lohan tosses another drink. Before they sign her, Mets wanna see how she throws with runners in scoring position.”

During the run-up to each new season of “ Rescue Me ,” Leary said Sunday night, he and other cast members did press junkets around the country, which he said were dry and boring.

This time, he got his band, the Enablers, back together, along with the three-piece all-female brass section, the Rehab Horns. He also took three comedians on the road with him — Lenny Clarke (Uncle Teddy), who helped Leary get his start in show business in Boston; Adam Ferrara (the Chief), truly one of New York’s finest comedians, and a newcomer, Whitney Cummings, who diluted the amped-up testosterone with a cold shower on the egotistical male libido.

Saturday and Sunday nights were the finale, in the city where the show takes place.

Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor


Leary debuted with a new song, “Douchebag,” a hard-rocking foot-stomper that takes aim at the Pope, texters and bigots, as Leary did his best spaz dance and the lyrics appeared on the screen (“You put the cum in communion…”).

When he was through, he said he wanted to sing something with “a little more bounce” for those who might have been offended by his opener. So he pulled out “ F.U. ,” a riotous collection of put-downs he premiered last year.

Except for the heat of the lights, the event was more a Broadway show than a comedy concert, with elaborate staging, lighting, and video.

There were pointed routines by both Leary and Clarke about the softening of the generations (Clarke: “If I told my old man I was gonna call child services cause he hit me, he’d say, ‘I hope you can dial with your tongue’ “).

Leary also said we pay so much attention to “self-esteem” issues — giving trophies to ALL the kids, not just the winners (“They should give the fat losers trophies made out of chocolate”) — that they grow up thinking they’re entitled and, at 35, don’t realize their dreams didn’t come true cause they didn’t master the necessary skills. On top of that, he said, all these new “diseases” are doing is creating more excuses for failing (“Bi-polar? In my house, we called it Tuesday.”).

Ferrara was top-notch, as usual. When his fiance found pee stains on the toilet, he said, she told him to “dab” with a piece of tissue. He told her, “You’re living in a shaker house, you’re marrying a shaker, and we’re gonna raise shaker kids.”

But the theme of the night was “DOUCHEBAGS,” including frequent texters, celebrities who smile for their mugshots (among them, Russ Limbaugh and Mel Gibson), guys who either carry purses (it’s not a satchel or a carry-all), grow ponytails when their hair starts receding or “manscape” their genitals. The biggest DB of them all in Leary’s book: the Pope, for protecting the molestors.

After nearly two and a half hours of hot, sweaty comedy, Leary said: “We can’t leave without doing this song.” The place erupted for, and many sang along to, “Asshole.” The comedians then tossed t-shirts into the audience, baseball-game style, Ferrara being the only one to reach the balcony.

The two-night Town Hall gig, recorded for a future Comedy Central special and a DVD set, not only promoted Tuesday’s season opener of “Rescue Me” on FX. Money raised through tickets and merchandise sales goes to The Leary Firefighters Foundation , which the 53-year-old actor/comedian created in response to a tragic blaze in Massachusetts that killed his cousin, a childhood friend and four other firefighters.

The group has done some amazing work and is as worthy a charity as any.

Leary and the “ Rescue Me” crew shot 19 episodes, ten of which will air as the sixth season, beginning this Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX. The final nine are coming next season, culminating — get this — on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

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