Friday, January 23, 2009

Dream a little dream...

Something special occurred on Thursday, January 22nd at McGuires Comedy Club in Bohemia. During a week when the key word was Inaugural, I, The self proclaimed, World’s Funniest Accountant presented an inaugural event of my own. The Stevie GB GREAT BIG Variety Show. Without prior rehearsals, the show was here. I hadn’t even met some of the acts on the show. I had no idea how many people were really going to show up. I arrive at 7pm to an empty comedy club. Showtime is 8pm. I was told that the only reserved group was a bachelorette party of 10 for dinner at 6:30. They did not confirm and it appeared as if they were no-shows. I struggled through the past three weeks to get people to come to the show. The numbers went from about 15 down to about 10. This was looking grim. I was lucky to have a show for ten people, or maybe even less.

Suddenly at about 7:15, some of the acts were arriving. A few of them brought friends and family with them. Now I am nearing the 10 people mark. I feel a little better, but not much. I notice, eating dinner in the corner booth a couple calling me over. It was Lois and Eddie. I worked with Lois two jobs ago. I told her about the show and she said she would be in Atlantic City. They rescheduled their trip to come to my show. I was thrilled. Things are looking better. I hang by the front door to see more familiar faces. A group of people I worked with at my last job show up. I had no idea. Another 5. Then three more I was not expecting. Then another 6. Then my sister, Diana with three friends. WOW. I have a show. By the time the show went off, I broke 50 people. A huge sigh of relief. This is the hardest part of showbiz. Getting people interested enough to come out and spend money on a weeknight in a bad economy. It’s a struggle.

My concept of a variety show has been in my head for years. I wanted to create a show with different acts of local performers who have regular jobs during the day and have this passion of performing inside them. A passion that cannot be ignored and is so rarely exposed to the general public. It’s hard to find venues and producers who are willing to give people a chance to develop an act. I wanted to do that. I started to get a feeling that this was going to be a special night. It was.

I hit the stage with all the enthusiasm I could muster to get this crowd ready for a mid week show I ran through my best bits in ten minutes and got them warmed up. It was time for the next act.

A musical duo from DA BRONX… A married couple, known as Joyful Noise – Charlie and Marie – right out of the 50’s They came up to the song Grease. I was the sound tech. I screwed up a few times, but I like to think that mistakes add spontaneity and charm to the show. (good one huh?) They did a couple of songs with some married couple bickering's scattered in between as part of the act. They were cute and fun. A good start.

Next up. I explained to the crowd that I wanted to do more than just present local talent. I want to give brand new acts a shot. It’s so hard for them to get noticed. I brought up a new guy named Adam Mancuso. He did five minutes and had a few tough spots, but he is growing. I like this kid. I see something there. He just needs to keep at it.

Now, the show is ready for something special. Lois Morton is one of the most original acts I have seen. An older woman (as she says..”I’ll never see 50 again, but it’s never too late”) She writes her own songs and plays this little casio keyboard. She sang a song about being a clutterholic. It literally brought the house down. Clever, hilarious and the audience fell in love with little Lois. She did another song about cell phones that killed. She wanted to leave, but I convinced her, along with the audience to do one more. She finished with a brilliant little ditty about side effects of medication.

See Saw comedy is an improv group, along the lines of Who’s Line Is It Anyway”. They came up and did three sketches. I would say the audience reaction was kind of like a see saw. Maybe, Lois is too tough to follow. Quite possible.

Andy Hayward, a comic from New Jersey, came up next. His material was very personal and hit home. He did very well. The coolest part is he brought a celebrity with him.
Gerry Cooney, a famous boxer is a friend of Andy’s and came to the show. He loved it all. He said the show was a knock out.

Here he is knocking me out..

Harry Mandel, magician and illusionist was next. He entertained the audience with some clever tricks and even got the audience involved. This show was flowing.

Last, but certainly not least, was Sparky. I cannot describe Sparky. I introduced him as an act that is the culmination of everything you have seen tonight. Sparky sings, plays guitar, does song parodies with some stand-up sprinkled in between. All in an original style that must be seen. Once you see Sparky, you are a fan. His endearing, yet peculiar, personality left the audience rapt in attention.

At the end of the night, the owner was happy and agreed to make this a regular event. I will be producing this show the last Thursday of each month. I will repeat some acts, but always feature something new and unusual. Next show is Thursday February 26th.

My ultimate goal is to expand this show to other places on Long Island, then other states, then onto the vast wasteland that is television. Hey, If Brett Michaels Rock Of Love Bus Tour can get on TV, then I can. How about Stevie GB gives the heebiegeebies rock of love smart car tour.

Since I have been inspired by President Obama, let me put it this way – “If I can make one person laugh, I can make a whole room laugh. If I can make a whole room laugh, I can make a town laugh, If I can make a town laugh I can make a city laugh. If I can make a city laugh I can make a nation laugh. If I can make a nation laugh I can make the world laugh….Jokes we can believe in.”

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