Chicago Tribune, June 2 1995, ArtsPlus

Never at a loss for jokes ...
Wendy Liebman fires one-liner after one-liner at Improv..

You'd better listen up if you want to enjoy Wendy Liebman. Because you'll otherwise miss some very funny stuff. "I'm flying here and I'm sitting next to this guy," the petite comic told the audience Thursday night at the Improv. "I knew he really wanted shut up." Liebman almost slipped that last phrase "to shut up" by the crowd, quickly going into the next bit. And that's the secret to her act. Liebman packed a lot of one-liners into an hour of bright material. And two-liners. And sometimes three-liners.

Liebman, a stand-up for about 10 years, gives you more yucks for the bucks. She tells a joke and then subtly adds another funny line to the gag. So while you're busy laughing at the last punch line, she hits you with a bonus line.

Liebman, 34, joked that someone kept saying to her, "Lady Di, Lady Di." Noting that she doesn't look anything like the popular Brit, Liebman "realized he was telling me what to do." Without missing a beat, she added: "I'm so mad at my father."."It was a very messy divorce," Liebman joked about a former husband, "because there was a baby involved." Beat. "Him." Beat. "And I didn't want custody."

Liebman puts a nutty spin on everything, from her former job as a secretary ("I would spend all day filing, nails") to dating ("Younger guys have been approaching me...and asking me to buy alcohol") to her family ("Is there a doctor in the house? Because my mother wants me to marry you").

But it's not just the material that makes Liebman so good, although that certainly helps. Her stage presence is also first-rate, with an engaging, relaxed manner, a ready smile and an obvious intelligence of her craft.

In addition to numerous appearances on various comedy shows, Liebman has appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "The Late Show With David Letterman" and an HBO "Women of the Night" stand up special that is running at various times throughout this month.

You can also spot Liebman on a current deodorant commercial with two other comics. One thing is for certain: With what she brings to comedy, Liebman doesn't have to sweat her career.

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