Friday night I was booked for a gig in New York State thanks to my friend Josh from college (Thanks, Josh!) I taught in the morning, and in the afternoon, I picked up my friend Ted (“Teddy Ballgame”) Pettingel, a funny Boston comedian with the night off. We headed down to Mamaroneck, NY for the gig opening for Judy Gold at the Emelin theater. I was very excited to meet Judy and see my uncle and aunt and have a road trip.
Road trip highlights: Summer jams. Extended discussion of the song “Building a Mystery” by Sarah McLachlan including what construction materials are necessary for a mystery. Getting a call that I have been invited to the Great American Comedy Festival in Norfolk, Nebraska this summer.
We made it to the theater, which was lovely, and I did my sound check, which was very brief. The room was great for comedy. All of the seats were close to the stage. Not too big. Great acoustics. I was very excited.
Backstage, Ted, my one man entourage (his words, not mine!) and I made our way to my dressing room. It was very fancy, which to me means that it was there at all. It was also full of costumes from a previous show, which I was tempted to wear. The temptation was surpassed by my stronger temptation to not look like a total dick.
I met Judy, who was very nice, but in kind of a rush because she had a lot of family at the show. I went onstage to open the show a few minutes later, and the crowd response was (let’s say) attentive but subdued. After a minute, I thought that maybe they were slow to warm up. After three minutes, I peered out into the audience, and blinded by the stage lights, I convinced myself that everyone was late to arrive. A younger me might have sped up and plowed through material, but I kept my pacing on-target and smooth. I brought Judy to the stage, and she promptly demolished the room for an hour and fifteen minutes, destroying the illusion that the crowd had not materialized on account of unexpected Mamaroneck gridlock. It was great to see someone I’d never watched before come onstage and captivate the crowd for the whole show. (Disclaimer: I missed the first few minutes decompressing after my set and eating pretzels with Ted. But the part that I saw was captivating.)
After the show, however, everyone was super complimentary. Also, as the crowd filed out, I saw that the average age of the crowd could not have been less than 65. So, in light of the handicap given that I am 1/3 the age of most of the crowd, and their proclaimed enjoyment of my comedy, I have decided to chalk the night up as a victory. Especially because Ted and I ate delicious burgers and made it home without falling asleep at the wheel.