John Leguizamo: Freak (1998)


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A tour of force from Mr.Leguizamo

Heard about this classic gem from the internet, after i obtained it from some hard way’s i was swept in. Leguizamo narrates his teen year’s so natural and heartwarming, but with a dark sincere twist that i felt real emotions about my family. The father part hit the most. I highly recommend this to everyone. 10/10

Great Comedy, Great Acting

After seeing this routine by John Leguizamo, I finally realize why he is such a talent. I enjoy great stage work, and this is stage work at its best. I cannot label it as a stand-up routine, because Leguizamo is so intense when playing the different characters. The only time he breaks character is when it is necessary for him to complete his part in which he does so coolly, that you cannot help, but appreciate his talents. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about him as an actor, but Freak solidified my appreciation of him. For those out there that have not had the opportunity to see this show, I feel for you. Definitely check it out. It is one of the nest routines I have ever seen. Ranks with Eddie Murphy, Bill Cosby and Chris Rock. Four stars and more.

The Best

John Leguizamo’s one man shows are hit or miss: Mambo Mouth showed off his intense characterizations and great timing but the material was average, Spic-o-Rama accomplished the former as well but this time the material was funny, Freak is a classic followed by his disappointing Sex-o-holic. But his stuff in Freak showcases his genius and when he’s in the spotlight he’s without peer.

Freak’s semi-autobiographical look at the journey of a young man has power and resonance I don’t think even it’s creator knew about. By allowing us the chance to see his soul, Mr. Leguizamo gives us an opportunity to project our own life onto his and there can be no greater gift a performer can give. The willingness to drop ‘the Wall’, expose and share is too terrifying for most actors-they use characters to hide behind-but JL goes full-throttle and gleefully smashes any pretenses. Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor were our best cultural observers/comedians/actors because they spoke from their heart about whatever they noticed in society and the truth provided slashing humor. Combine that with a great actor’s gift of mimicry and being in-the-moment (not to mention a sense of humanity) and you’ll see John Leguizamo has the power to do the same. At least in Freak he does.

From birth to his first big break and every life altering moment in between, a viewer sees our host and other characters in their most private moments all the while experiencing the pain, hope, and humor that comes with. Looking drained and lean muscled-tight JL is ringing with sweat by evening’s end having offered up his crazy life for an audience; Spike Lee’s fluid camera work captures the actor’s nuances down to the last lip curl and slow blink. The scenarios range from drinking with his machismo-fueled father (when he was 9) to seeing A Chorus Line with his gay, deaf uncle; his first girlfriend’s vicious humiliation when he strips naked, eager to have sex. A nightmarish first sexual encounter with a large German woman in the back of a Kentucky Fried Chicken follows an unsuccessful attempt to pick up a “drunk lapsed Catholic” in a bar on St.Patty’s Day. Climaxing in a serious showdown with his mother and father, it’s here that he shows his true genius: he plays a scene between these two characters and himself and his brother with such a strong dramatic/humourous intensity, you forget you’re watching only one person. There’s no costume changes, bad wigs, lighting tricks, or makeup. Just an actor giving his all. It’s simply amazing.

Other actors/comedians that stand out right now are Eddie Izzard and Chris Rock but they don’t dive into themselves as deeply as John Leguizamo does; that’s not a criticism, not by a long shot. I love their work but Freak is different. It’s moving in a no-b******* way. It’s the best one man show out there and no one will be able to touch it for a long time.