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By Don R. Lewis | August 18, 2006

Every school has an outsider and every classroom has a clown. But in
the case of writer/director Kelly William’s excellent short film
“Richard,” the title character is an outsider but not the class clown. Rather, he refers to himself as the class comedian and spends his days reading antiquated Milton Berle jokes and acting out fairly bad routines to a helpless tree on the playground. Coming in at a
perfectly timed five minutes, Williams manages to make a funny film
that’s also kind of sad as well as sympathetic, at least that last part was for me.

See, when I was a kid, I too wanted to be a comedian. I would buy
bargain “comedy tapes” at the drug store and laugh my a*s off to
popular 80’s stand up acts like Bob Newhart, Henny Youngman, Jonathan
Winters and Steve Allen. Yeah, that was a joke, I know they weren’t
popular with the pre-teen crowd in the eighties. While others were
pretending to understand Eddie Murphy’s “Comedian,” I was rolling on
the floor to gems like, “Take my wife, please.” In short, I understand

But even if you weren’t a raging dork as a kid (like me) you’re going
to love this film. The acting by young Richard Morris is not only
funny, it’s very natural. And director Kelly Williams creates a sharp world that reminded me of a low-fi David Gordon Greene. If I have a quibble, it’s that the film looks really great but touches on such a silly, fun premise that it took my brain a few minutes to catch up with what my eyes were seeing. Yet I also think the great visual style by Williams along with terrific camera work by Steve Collins and cool editing by Davo Johnson help bring you inside the lonely world of the ousider Richard. Keep an eye out for this film on the festival circuit and hopefully online, it’s a great little film.

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