Now that almost every stand-up in America has gotten a shot at starring in his or her own sitcom, networks have started to recycle comics whose first series flopped. Lisa Ann Walter, late of the 1995 Fox blip My Wildest Dreams, has returned in Life’s Work. If you’re asking yourself ”Lisa Ann who?” you’re not alone: CNN’s Showbiz Today recently ran a segment on Walter that referred to her as Lisa Ann Walker.
What sets Walker’s — er, Walter’s — show apart from ABC’s other working-mom ‘coms, Roseanne and Grace Under Fire? Well, she plays a lawyer with the Baltimore state attorney’s office and … not much else. Just like Rosey and Grace, Work’s Lisa Hunter is a mouthy feminist trying to balance her job with her home life. Walter delivers her zingers with gusto, yet there’s still a sense of been-there-done-that about her character.
Smartly, Walter has surrounded herself with a solid supporting cast. Michael O’Keefe, a likable if not particularly funny presence on Roseanne over the past few seasons, is likable if not particularly funny as Lisa’s basketball-coach hubby. As the spaced-out administrative assistant at Lisa’s office, Lightfield Lewis puts an amusingly loopy spin on his punchlines. And the always-reliable Larry Miller does a terrific slow burn as Lisa’s boss. Larry Miller — now, there’s a stand-up who deserves to star in his own sitcom. B-