Lily Tomlin Lester Bangs - Essay

Lester Bangs

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"On Stage" is a recording of highlights from [Appearing Nitely], and it reveals both Tomlin's virtuosity and her limitations….

Appearing Nitely's most audacious creation—the quadriplegic who is determined to travel cross-country by wheel-chair and to go hang-gliding off the California coast—was better conceived and far more incisive than either the Shopping Bag Lady or the UFO Guy, yet she has been left off the record entirely. It would be nice to be able to applaud Tomlin for her compassionate understanding of some of the most pathetic and wretched people in our big cities, but her portrayals of these two just don't work. Her down-and-outers seem far more like Walt Disney's Goofy...

(The entire section is 654 words.)