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insane in the membrane

Christopher Walken Ups His Crazy on Broadway

Christopher Walken has always been the go-to guy for dark and weird: He’s got the bug eyes, the unpredictable fury, and the imperiousness of the iconic Bonkers Old White Man. He so reliably and enjoyably plays crazy that to his fans, he’s like a cozy pair of insane slippers. That may be why a preview audience of his new Broadway play A Behanding in Spokane loudly roared at his extra-lunatic performance — he was Walken Plus. The crowd was enraptured by this in-person demo of wackjobbery, even raucously laughing as he took our culture’s most talismanic racial epithet — the N-word, which recently felled John Mayer — and repeated it more than a dozen times. It didn’t occur to anyone to be offended. Walken has been culturally Silly Puttied so many times, what’s left is hardly actionable; you might as well pick a fight with a funhouse mirror. Read our review of the play here.

Photo: Joan Marcus