YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

COMEDY : After Personality Test, Jenkins Decides on Disenfranchised

August 06, 1992|DENNIS McLELLAN | Dennis McLellan is a Times staff writer who regularly covers comedy for O.C. Live!

"You can probably tell by looking at me, I'm divorced," comic Robert Jenkins says in his off-the-wall, somewhat manic delivery.

"Married a year, been divorced a year. Already her parents are like I should move out."

Jenkins says he and his ex-wife's father "never got along real well. All because of one little teeny accident right after I moved in. I don't know what in hell he was doing out in the driveway. . . . Changing oil. It's like, Oh, I should check under every car I get in before I drive out. . . . It's not like I left him there. As soon as I saw what happened I pulled right back in."

With his expressively mobile face and a goofily mocking sense of humor, Jenkins, who is headlining at the Laff Stop in Newport Beach this week, presents a somewhat off-kilter view of life. (In his bio he includes this apt "self-portrait" of his alter ego: "Sick, lovable, vulnerable, sensitive, naive, ridiculous.")

His off-the-wall approach is part of an evolution in his comedy style since the former shipyard laborer and hairdresser went into stand-up eight years ago.

"I sort of experimented with a bunch of personalities--the friendly guy, (being) overexcited, to just completely emotionless," Jenkins said by phone from his home in Portland, Ore., last week. "It was like any of those extremes wasn't quite what I was looking for. The problem with them is they're all pretty limiting. It works but doesn't tell the whole story."

And how would he describe his current stage persona?

"Maybe more angry, the common-guy kind of thing," he said, searching for the right word. "Disenfranchised. Yeah, that's it. I don't know. Hopefully, it's the idea of going in what seems an obvious direction and taking a hard left."

As an example, he offered his coffee joke: "Yeah, I like my coffee like I like my women. . . . Bitter." And this: "There's nothing wrong with living in a mobile home. . . . Unless, of course, you've got some self-esteem."

Here's the off-the-wall Jenkins on:

* Statistics that show 15 people are killed each year by lawn mowers: "I've mowed a few yards in my time. I can see losing the tip of your toe. A rock in my eye. Dead? It would be a terrible way to die. Guess they'd just find you in the bag is what would happen. 'Hey, where the hell did he go? He didn't even finish. Left the bag full, damn it. He's not getting his eight bucks.' "

* Children: "It's amazing how fast they grow every day. I remember when my little girl first started to crawl. That's when the house plants started to disappear. It's like having a 25-pound caterpillar loose in the house. . . . Until I went out and bought all those cactuses."

Who: Robert Jenkins.

When: Thursday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 9, at 8:30; Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7 and 8, at 8, 10 and 11:45 p.m.

Where: The Laff Stop, 2122 S.E. Bristol St., Newport Beach.

Whereabouts: From the Corona del Mar (73) Freeway, take the Irvine Avenue/Campus Drive exit onto Bristol Street and go south one block.

Wherewithal: $7 to $10.

Where to Call: (714) 852-8762.

Los Angeles Times Articles