Personnel: Terry Williams (vocals, guitar); Tony Ballard (vocals, keyboards); King Robinson Jr. (drums).
Audio Mixer: Frank Papalardo.
Recording information: The Atlanta Civic Center, Atlanta, GA.
Director: Scott Montoya.
Photographer: Ty Richardson.
Newcomers might feel like they're missing something as "Grandma's House" kicks off the comedian's first widely available standup album at full throttle, but Rickey Smiley has such a "built-in" audience -- thanks to his radio and television hosting, his crank call albums, and constant touring -- that you've just got to trust that his characters are flushed out , even with little setup. Actually, this feeling that you've missed the intro and are being dropped into an act mid-set is reminiscent of the party records of Redd Foxx and his ilk from way back when, and the always ribald, always risky humor of Rickey is right there too, sometimes using the old white folks/black folks comparisons ("White people had Mr. Bubble. What did we have? Joy detergent!") or a 2Live Crew understanding of alternative lifestyles ("A lesbian go down to the basketball court and shoot a jumpshot, but a bulldagger? She take it to the paint!"). Laughing at that unfortunate kid named "Precious" seems harsh until "Midget Funeral" piles on the short people jokes, and if that track called "Camel Toe" doesn't give it away, Smiley is one filthy, porno-minded fellow. Still, remembering that all Grandmas used Tussy cream deodorant, delivering a line as wry as "I joined a white church 'cuz white people get out on time," plus the equal distribution of stereotypes suggests that Smiley isn't mean or misguided. He's just hilarious and sharp, like Open Casket Sharp. ~ David Jeffries