Old Dogs Barking

Friday October 28th, 2011 – Munster, IN

Ah, what sheer delight it is when everything about a comedy show goes exactly the way it’s supposed to – on stage and off. That’s exactly what happened this evening as I worked in Munster, Indiana of all places for my friend Nick Gaza. He lives there and is starting to book shows at an outstanding venue called The Center For Visual And Performing Arts.

Everything was right about this whole event, and I wish comedy could be like this every night. It was a dinner show, and the joint was packed with polite friendly people who paid a significant cover charge and wanted to see comedy. They were a scorching hot audience and stayed that way from the introduction right through to the last joke. It was a pleasure.

It was a two headliner show, and I went on first in front of John Knight from Pittsburgh. I’ve known John for probably twenty-five years, and he and Nick have been friends since they lived close to each other in Los Angeles years ago. Nick knew John and asked him to be on the show. I hadn‘t seen either one of them in way too long, so I took the other slot.

Nick, John and I are road warriors from the old days, and know what we’re doing as far as putting on a show goes. Nick didn’t perform, but he made the opening announcements and made sure everything ran smoothly. He also made sure the room was set up correctly.

We started exactly on time at 8:15, and I did 40 minutes to open the show. It took about ten seconds to realize it was going to be a hot crowd, but I had a strong hunch it would be because of the buzz before the show. Everyone looked happy as they were eating dinner.

This is one we should have recorded. John’s style is very different than mine, and that’s a good thing. The audience loved us both, but if someone didn’t happen to like one of us there was a good chance they’d like the other. Afterward, there was a line to shake hands and take pictures and tell us how much fun they had. THIS is how comedy should be.

We got a chance to hang out after the show too. That’s another highlight of comedy that seems to be a thing of the past. Most comedy clubs in the ‘80s had a ‘scene’, where every night a group of the local comics would hang out and bust balls. It was a sacred fraternity.

John, Nick and I all have a lifetime of stories, and Nick brought two of his buddies from childhood along who are really good guys. One of them played minor league baseball and between the five of us we kept each other entertained and laughing hard until almost 3am.

What a fun night all around. Great dinner, great show, great hanging out afterward. This was a treat for all of us, and we knew it. It just isn’t like this every night, especially on all levels. Even the hotel was wonderful. They put us in the Fairfield Inn not far from the gig.

Comedy is a lifelong passion, even in those who drop out of doing it. Between the three of us, we must have come up with more than 100 names of comics we’ve known over the years who aren’t doing it anymore. It’s not easy, but nights like this help keep us going.


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