WE ARRIVED LATE to hear Tuli Kupferberg at the Polyarts Coffeehouse Sunday night, but we did not come late enough. The management held up the show for another 45 minutes, waiting for an audience to appear.
When enough people had come to pay the night's rent, we found that what we saw and heard really was not worth waiting for. After a couple of warm-up acts--highlighted by a guitar-playing individual who, though introduced as a Combat Zone wino, appeared to be wearing a wedding ring and definitely was wearing Top Siders--Kupferberg began his remarkably mediocre act.
He claims to be a stand-up comedian of sorts, and he is a former rock musician. He is also living proof of the proposition that though Old Fugs never die, maybe they ought to. Kupferberg gave us a bad dose of anti-war humor dating back not just to the Vietnam conflict but to Rudyard Kipling's aunt. He followed with a skit on New York subway bathrooms and a slide show that sought humor in dildoes, inflatable men and comic books.
The act continued to be raunchy but bad; we continued to take it on the chin. The former Fug proceeded to sing some songs: "Nixon Fucks Me" to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me," "Amazing Grass." from "Amazing Grace," and so on.
We had a long boring evening, relieved--not by anything any performer did--but only by the mysterious presence in the East Cambridge coffeehouse of someone who looked like a refugee from the Harvard College Fund. Maybe the highpoint of the evening came when a chair fell over; maybe it came with the end of the performance; we moved on.